Chicken Broth with Cheese and Bread Crumb Dumplings


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

Splendid Soups

Splendid Soups

By James Peterson

Published 2000

  • About

I first read about passatelli in Elizabeth David’s Italian Food—one of the first books to make Italian cooking accessible to English and American cooks- What intrigued me was her remark that traditional cooks from Modena and Bologna replace the pasta in their pasta in brodo with a lighter paste made from Parmesan cheese, eggs, and bread crumbs. The paste is pushed through the holes of a colander—or, better yet, a potato ricer—over the simmering broth, in which it forms delicate strands.

Don’t try to use stale or packaged bread crumbs, which will give the noodlelike strands an unpleasant sandy texture and a stale taste. It’s easy enough to make your own bread crumbs with a few slices of white bread—crusts removed—zapped for 30 seconds in a food processor or dried out ever so slightly in the oven and pushed through a medium-mesh strainer.


  • 6 cups clear beef or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup fine white bread crumbs made from 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • salt and pepper


Bring the broth to a slow simmer in a 4-quart pot.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan and work them into a paste over medium heat for about 1 minute.

Put the paste in a potato ricer or colander set over the simmering broth. Push the paste through into the broth. Simmer for a minute or two and serve in hot, wide bowls. Pass extra cheese at the table.

The passatelli paste can also be rolled by hand in grated Parmesan cheese or flour into thin sausage shapes and simmered in the soup for 5 minutes. You can also pipe the passatelli mixture into the simmering broth with a pastry bag, cutting it into 1-inch lengths with a paring knife as it comes out the tip.