I first read about passatelli in
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.
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.
© 2000 James Peterson. All rights reserved.