Passatelli in Brodo

November 14, 2012
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

My mom taught me how to make this traditional dish from the Emiglia-Romagna region of Italy. It’s one of my favorite soups. Save any stale loaves of Italian bread, cut into smaller pieces and let them dry out completely. Blitz them in the food processor, first using the shredding blade, then a second time with the chopping blade, to get a very fine crumb. Use any good-quality broth you like, but homemade is best. I love broth made with drumsticks, as opposed to a whole chicken. Drumsticks have lots of cartilage and bones, making for a super flavorful broth. —mrslarkin

Test Kitchen Notes

Mrslarkin’s version of a traditional Emilia Romagna soup recipe is comforting and soothing—a delicious bowl of goodness. What I liked best about this recipe is its simplicity and its frugal nature. The passatelli reminded me more of a spaetzle than fresh pasta, but I loved how the generous amount of Parmesan cheese permeated the pasta strands, giving them a delicate and light texture, and how the passatelli almost melted into the full-bodied homemade broth. I look forward to making it again! —cookinginvictoria

What You'll Need
  • For the homemade broth (or use 8 cups of a good quality, organic store-bought broth)
  • 5 or 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into a few pieces
  • 1 large white onion, unpeeled, cut in half
  • 1 large rib of celery, cut into a few pieces (or just lop off about 3” from the top of a celery bunch, leaves included)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A sprig of thyme
  • A few branches of flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the passatelli
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs (about 4.25 ounces/120 grams), from one dry loaf of Italian bread
  • 2 heaping cups (finely grated with a microplane grater) Parmigiano Reggiano (about 2.5 ounces/70 grams), plus extra for passing
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  1. For the homemade broth (or use 8 cups of a good quality, organic store-bought broth)
  2. Place all ingredients into a soup pot. Cover with about 8 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least an hour, with lid on. Taste for salt. Strain broth through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard most of the solids. I like to keep the chicken and carrots for snacking. Check the broth for salt. Set aside and keep warm.
  1. For the passatelli
  2. Place 4 soup bowls in a low (warm) oven until ready to use.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir the eggs in with a fork until a dough forms. Dough should be soft, and a little bit sticky, but not too much. Add a bit of flour or breadcrumbs if very wet. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest for about 10 minutes or so.
  4. Bring the broth up to a gentle boil.
  5. Working with ¼ of the dough at a time, place each portion into a large-holed potato ricer. Press the dough through the ricer. To release the pasatelli, scrape off the strands with the edge of a sharp knife, or an offset spatula. Let the strands fall directly into the boiling broth. The passatelli strands will be just over an inch long. Cook until the strands float to the top, just a minute or so. Continue with the rest of the dough. With a spider strainer or a large slotted spoon, transfer the passatelli to the warm soup bowls.
  6. When all the passatelli are cooked, ladle some broth into the passatelli-filled soup bowls and serve immediately, passing extra grated parmigiano. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mikedalena
  • keg72
  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • lapadia
  • Midge

26 Reviews

Nonny S. February 19, 2022
My Italian grandpa taught my mom how to make this zoupa. I never knew it had a name, we always just called it “the soup”. It was always necessary at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The only difference between our family favorite and this is that we’re used very finely ground saltine crackers and cinnamon. The pasta noodles then were ground thru a meat grinder. This soup is absolutely heavenly. Today I’m going to teach my daughter and granddaughter how to make it!
mikedalena August 22, 2020
I grew up with this soup and our family called it Italian Easter Soup. Our version was a bit different, but no better or worse, with the bread broken into pieces and soaked in the egg forever. This creates dumplings (the crusty pieces being extra toothy and the best in my not so humble opinion) and streamers of egg white not too much unlike Chinese egg drop soup (but not so dense with egg as so many egg drop soup recipes). I remember my mom throwing some mint in the broth and garnishing with it as well (ethereal music here with closeup gif of woman sipping soup, taking a deep breathe and smiling). Then grated asiago, pecorino Romano - basically the hard Italian cheese of the week - was sprinkled across the soup. She learned to make this from her mother-in-law Emelia (my grandmother) who was a first generation immigrant from Jesi at the turn of the last century (the 190Xs). Jesi is in Ancona just south of Emiglia-Romagna - perhaps a regional variation? I encourage everyone to try MRSLARKIN’s soup. This soup is pure heaven and again proves that simple can be extraordinary.
keg72 January 24, 2015
The passatelli were delicious. The nutmeg and lemon zest were lovely. My ricer doesn't have such large holes, so my thinner passatelli fell apart a bit, but it didn't affect the flavor at all.
cucina D. September 16, 2013
I love this brodo, growing up this was our fall & winter version of chicken soup... grazie tante for reminding me of one of my famiglia's old favorites. I will be making this as soon as we get our first cool days here in Southwest Florida.
lapadia January 30, 2013
MrsL! A classic, outstanding, healing comfort food with my favorite - a kick of nutmeg; in simplicity there is true magic. Buona Salute!
mrslarkin February 8, 2013
Grazie lapadia!
Midge January 29, 2013
This sounds so comforting and delicious.
mrslarkin January 29, 2013
Thank you Midge! It is. :)
Brussels S. January 28, 2013
This is awesome. I can't wait to try!
mrslarkin January 29, 2013
Thanks BSB! Let me know if you do.
Brussels S. February 13, 2013
Just made it last night... and loved it!
mrslarkin February 13, 2013
yay! so glad you enjoyed it.
Fairmount_market November 18, 2012
This sounds so delicious! I can't wait to try it.
mrslarkin November 24, 2012
Thank you, fm! It's one of my favorite soups.
lisina November 16, 2012
YES! I feel like no one knows about passatelli and it is a crime! My mom was born near Rimini and we grew up eating--actually gorging on--these. Your recipe is very similar to the ratios we use. Thank you so much for sharing mrslarkin!
mrslarkin November 16, 2012
You're welcome, lisina! My mom and dad were born in San Marino. Do you make any other traditional dishes from that region? I bet your mom must have crazy good recipes for porchetta, piadina, and a million other things!
lisina November 16, 2012
My mom was born in RSM!! Almost all of her family is still there. I actually just got back from spending a month working in a cousin's restaurant in Spadarolo learning to roll tagliatelle by hand, make passatelli, piadina, coniglio, grate--all those heavenly delights. I am going to try to go back this winter to learn cappelletti. In fact, I noticed the sprinkles on your ciambella photo: my nonna didn't make it that way, but my cousins do. Soon I'm going to post my nonna's recipe for lasagne verdi. I just have to find the time to make them. So glad we connected!
mrslarkin November 16, 2012
oh my is a very small world! I wonder if we're related?? haha. My mom and dad are from Serravalle. We have many friends and relatives still there. Did you ever go on the Soggiorni? I did in 1987. Best time ever. Cappelletti another of my favorites! I also love involtini, maritozzi, pagnotta, spianata...ok I will stop now. :)
lisina November 16, 2012
stop, this is too weird. do you know the big house across from the middle school in serravalle? my mom was born in that house, and my great aunt and uncle still live in it. ask your parents if they know the canduccis. considering seravalle is like ONE street, I'm sure they do! what is your last name? i never did the soggiorno (stupidly) but often went and stayed with my aunts and uncles in the summers. my parents are actually there right now--ha!
mrslarkin November 16, 2012
Mom said the name Canducci sounds familiar, but doesn't know anyone with that name. We are Benedettini (no relation to the bus company.) Relatives and friends are Beccari, Selva and Gasperoni. My Zia Maria lives in the house at the corner near the Castello, the one with the big giant fig tree.
lisina November 16, 2012
i have definitely eaten at the restaurant gasperoni numerous times. i'll ask my mom and aunts about the other names. such a small world :)
healthierkitchen November 15, 2012
Just terrific! I make my stock with a whole cut up chicken and add a couple of extra legs. I will have to try all legs!
mrslarkin November 15, 2012
Thank you hk! Yes, legs are tasty! And if you can find feet, even better!
hardlikearmour November 15, 2012
This sounds fantastic!
hardlikearmour November 15, 2012
The more I think about this recipe, the more I am craving it. I love all the cool cooking things your mom taught you.
mrslarkin November 15, 2012
Thank you hla! I am very lucky to have learned from The Master. ;)