Let me start this post by stating that, when I was a boy, my Mom was the coolest Mom on the block. After I’d spent a morning hard at play, manufacturing Creepy Crawlers with my Mattel Thingmaker, guess what she served for lunch? Worms. That’s right, WORMS! How cool was that? Granted, we didn’t have actual worms for lunch but we did have passatini, a far more appetizing and tasty alternative. Sometimes called passatelli, passatini are noodles, of a sort, made with bread crumbs & cheese instead of flour and lightly flavored with lemon rind and nutmeg. The noodles themselves are extruded using a special press, a large-holed ricer, or a meat grinder. Once made, they can be added immediately to a pot of boiling stock or placed in single layers on baking sheets to be frozen. After a couple of hours, the now-frozen passatini may be gently placed into a container and stored in an area of the freezer where they won’t be disturbed. As you may have guessed, these noodles are more delicate than most and care needs to be taken when storing them. On the other hand, this recipe can be halved easily, thereby eliminating the need for freezing altogether. Whether freshly made or previously frozen, a steaming bowl of passatini is a meal fit for the coldest of Winter’s days. And if you happen to be serving children of a certain age, you, too, can be as cool as my Mom.
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total time: approx. 30 minutes
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (parmesan or romano)
- 1/2 tbsp lemon rind
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- chicken stock (vegetable stock may be substituted for a vegetarian diet)
- grated cheese for serving
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add eggs and mix until a dough is formed. (I use my stand mixer and paddle attachment.)
- Form into a ball, cover, and let dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Using a large-holed potato ricer or meat grinder, extrude the passatini and place in a single layer on baking sheets, to be used immediately or frozen for later use, as explained in my comments above.
- Bring a pot of stock to boil, add the passatini, and reduce to a medium simmer. When the passatini begin to float, cook for 3 to 4 minutes more and serve.
- Be sure to have grated cheese available for you and your dinner companions.
I’ve seen recipes for passatini that include ground meat and even bone marrow, although I’ve never tasted them prepared in that way. I like my worms just the way they are.
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