Passatelli in Brodo
Start to finish: 1¼ hours (30 minutes active) | Servings: 4 to 6
In Bologna, Italy, we tasted delicious home- cooked passatelli in brodo. Made with stale bread, cheese, eggs, broth and little else, the dish exemplifies cucina povera, or peasant cooking. Passatelli are cylindrical dumplings— like fat, short spaghetti—made by extruding dough through smallish holes; the dumplings are simply poached and served in chicken broth. We found that in lieu of a traditional passatelli maker, a potato ricer with 3/16-inch perforations works well for extruding the dough. Another alternative is to use a cooling rack with a ⅜-inch wire grid (instructions are included in the recipe). To make passatelli dough, Italian cooks use stale bread processed into breadcrumbs, but since we rarely have leftover bread and in order to consistently produce a dough with the proper texture, we use Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs. We highly recommend using homemade chicken broth. We came up with a simple Instant Pot version. If using purchased broth, consider upping its flavor by adding a chunk of Parmesan rind and/or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Don’t use pre-grated Parmesan or domestic Parmesan-like cheese. With so few ingredients in the passatelli, true Parmigiano Reggiano is essential for flavor. Purchase it in a chunk, not pre-grated, as the cheese loses freshness once it’s grated. Plus, if you buy a chunk, you will have a piece of rind to simmer in the broth as a flavor booster.
- 4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
- 8 ounces Parmesan cheese without rind, cut into rough 1-inch chunks, plus shaved Parmesan to serve
- 2½ cups (6½ ounces) panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg, plus more to serve
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken broth (see note)
In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks, ¾ cup water and 1 tablespoon of the oil. In a food processor, process the Parmesan chunks until finely ground, about 20 seconds. Add the panko, ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Process until the mixture is powdery, about 30 seconds. With the machine running, add the egg mixture, then process until smooth, about 1 minute. Let rest in the food processor for 5 minutes; the mixture will thicken as it stands.
Process for another 10 seconds. The mixture will be thick but smooth and resemble mashed potatoes. Scrape it into a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes or refrigerate for up to 1 hour; the mixture will thicken further as it stands.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and brush the parchment with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil; set aside. In a large pot over medium-high, bring the broth to a boil. Transfer one-third of the dough to the hopper of a ricer with 3/16-inch perforations. Press the dough directly over the pot of simmering broth until it forms rough 3-inch lengths, then shake the ricer to release the dough into the broth. Repeat with the dough remaining in the ricer. (Alternatively, place a rack with a ⅜-inch wire grid across the pot of simmering broth. Scoop one-third of the dough onto the center of the rack, then use a silicone spatula to press the dough through the wires, allowing the dumplings to fall into the broth; rap the rack to release the last bits of dough into the pot.) Cook the passatelli until it floats to the surface, then continue to cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the passatelli, letting it drain, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Cook the remaining dough in two more batches in the same way, then remove the pot from the heat. Let the passatelli rest for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to help it cool; it will firm up as it cools.
Return the broth to a simmer over medium-high, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide the passatelli among individual bowls and ladle in the broth. Top each serving with shaved Parmesan.
Instant Pot Chicken Broth
Active time: 10 minut : 1½ hours, plus cooling
Makes about 10 cups
Chicken wings, which contain ample collagen, yield a rich, full-bodied broth. Use this as a base for passatelli en brodo, or in any recipe that calls for store-bought or homemade chicken broth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or freeze for up to a month.
Don’t forget to allow a 20-minute natural pressure release after cooking is complete. If the steam is released any sooner, the pressure remaining in the pot may cause liquid to spout out of the vent.
- 3½ to 4 pounds chicken wings
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt
START, In a 6-q chicken, onion, bay, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 quarts water.
FAST, Lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 1 hour. When pressure cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then release any remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
FINISH, Cool for about 30 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Cool to room temperature, then use a wide spoon to skim off and discard any fat on the surface. (Alternatively, once the broth has cooled, cover and refrigerate until cold, then scrape the congealed fat off the surface.)
Start to finish: 25 minutes | Servings: 4 to 6
The key to this simple, ultra-rich pasta is using good-quality true Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano). We simmer a piece of Parmesan rind into the cream for added flavor and umami; some supermarkets and cheese shops sell just rinds, or simply cut the rind off your chunk of Parmesan.
Don’t use domestic Parmesan or even true Parmesan that’s pre-grated. Neither will yield the correct flavor and consistency.
- 2½ cups heavy cream
- 2-inch Parmesan rind, plus 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (3 cups)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 pound linguini fini or spaghetti
In a medium saucepan over medium, combine the cream, Parmesan rind and bay. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed, until slightly thickened and reduced to 2 cups, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, then remove and discard the cheese rind and bay. Whisk in the lemon juice; the mixture will thicken slightly. Whisk in the cheese a handful at a time, then continue to whisk until completely smooth. Taste and season with pepper, then set aside uncovered.
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain. Return the pasta to the pot.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss until well coated, adding cooking water as needed to thin. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with additional black pepper.
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