First it was Bob's bread pudding that I mangled last Friday. Then today, I tried to make passatelli soup, and that didn't work out. Passatelli soup contains wonderful, delicate noodles made from parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and eggs. It's mixed into a dough and then pressed through a food mill, a ricer, or a special passatelli press. Though I've never made it before, I've enjoyed it in restaurants. I had all the ingredients, and a ricer, so why not make it? Plus, I bought turkey necks yesterday, which meant I could make broth for the soup. Since passatelli soup is so simple, the broth is crucial and I did manage to make a good one. But, my attempt at making the little passatelli noodles was a total failure. After several attempts I gave up and made little dumplings with the dough. They were like little cheesy clouds, so delicate they almost melted in my mouth. I'm a passatelli failure, but at least it wasn't a replay of the odious bread pudding.
Here is what pasatelli soup should look like. Adorable, yes? (Photo courtesy of In Cuchina Con Cooki )
The dough for the dumplings was fresh bread crumbs, eggs, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and lemon. It was mixed together until the consistancy of cooked polenta. I had to add more bread crumbs to the dough, but the recipe predicted I might need to do that.
Passatelli Soup or Cheese Dumplings in Chicken Broth (Emeril Legasse)
9 cups well-flavored chicken broth
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs (Use freshly made bread crumbs for best results)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 lemon, zested and juiced (optional)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a slow boil. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the bread crumbs, nutmeg and lemon zest and juice and make a well in the center. Add the eggs to the well and slowly incorporate into the dry ingredients, until it comes together and resembles cooked polenta. (If the mixture is too thin, add a bit more grated cheese and bread crumbs.)
Transfer the cheese mixture to a food mill or ricer fitted with the large die. Hold the food mill as high above the steaming broth as possible, and turn the handle so that the Parmesan mixture is forced through the mill into the slowly boiling broth. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and let sit 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and top each with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and the remaining grated cheese. Serve immediately.
To make dumplings instead of noodles:
Scoop up a lump of the dough and roll it into a small ball. Place the dumplings as you make them on a plate that has been sprayed with Pam. Drop the dumplings into gently boiling water. The dumplings will drop to the bottom of the pan and rise to the top when they are done. If any of the dumplings stick to the botom of the pan, gentley nudging with a butter knife will let them rise. Cook about 1-2 minutes, then scoop out with a strainer. Place dumplings in bowls and ladle hot broth over them. Sprinkle with minced herbs and more parmesan.