A pasta made from breadcrumbs? Umm, yep! When I was preparing this, Mr. S was dubious but one bite and all doubts were erased. Passatelli hails from Italy’s Emilia Romagna region. This frugal traditional Italian dish is made with stale bread, Parmigiano Reggiano, eggs, and lemon zest. Ok, here’s a heads up. I ‘tried’ using my ricer but the holes were too small. I then tried using my spaetzle maker which the holes were large enough but the result was not good. I also think the issue was the size of the breadcrumbs. So, what to do? In the end, I rolled into little balls. Nuff said, and they were so darn delicious!
6 oz heavy cream
2 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
ground nutmeg (grated fresh if you have on hand)
6 oz breadcrumbs
7 oz finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 large eggs, lightly whisked
chicken broth (for cooking passatelli)
aged Balsamic vinegar (for drizzling)
Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan. Add cheese 1 tablespoon at a time and stir with a whisk. Continue stirring over low heat until the cheese has melted. The consistency should be similar to a custard. Complete with a pinch of salt and nutmeg.
for the passatelli
Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Stir the eggs in with a fork until a dough forms. The dough should be soft, and a little bit sticky. Add a bit of flour if too wet. Form a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.
Bring broth to a gentle boil. Work with ¼ of the dough at a time, place each portion into a large-holed potato ricer. Place ricer over hot broth and squeeze to release the passatelli. Scrape off the strands with a sharp knife. The passatelli should be about an inch long. The pasta is done when they float to the top. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the passatelli to bowls for serving, keeping them in a warm oven.
Ladle a small amount of broth over the Parmigiano cream into the passatelli-filled bowls. Add extra grated Parmigiano cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.
the culinary chase’s note:
Save any stale Italian bread, cut into smaller pieces and let dry out completely. Blitz in the food processor to get a very fine crumb. The colour of the passatelli will vary depending on the bread you use. I used the last bit of our sourdough by East End Bread. Enjoy!