Makes about 3 Quarts, Serving 12
Food waste is a big problem today. This is one delicious way to recycle the leftover bread we have in our kitchen. Passatelli is a type of pasta traditionally from Emilia-Romagna. It is sometimes served without soup, topped with Bolognese sauce or butter and cheese. At Felidia, we serve it with capon broth- especially during the cold winter months- but chicken broth can be used instead. It’s something that I always serve at home for special meals, and it’s a staple of the holiday menus at the restaurant.
If you don’t have a passatelli maker, you can use a meat grinder without the cutting blade (the passatelli will be extended through the holes of the grinder). Cut the strands of dough into 1-inch pieces with a knife as they are extruded. You can even freeze the dough in pieces for about 30 to 45 minutes, and then grate on the large holes of a box grater.
- For the Broth
- 1 whole capon (about 4 pounds)
- 1 large onion, halved
- 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 6 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- Kosher salt
- For the Passatelli
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 to 1 cup fine dried breadcrumbs
- All-purpose flour, for the baking sheet
- To Finish
- 3 cups packed baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons truffle butter
- Freshly grated Grana Padano, for serving
For the broth, wash the capon thoroughly under cold running water and drain well. Put the capon in a Dutch oven large enough to hold it without crowding. Add water to cover by 2 inches, about 5 quarts. Bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the level of heat to a simmer, and continue to cook for 1 hour, skimming the foam and fat from the surface occasionally.
Meanwhile, with a pair of tongs, place the onion, cut sides down, directly over an open flame, and cook until the cut surface is well browned, about 3 minutes. Move the onion halves as necessary to brown them evenly. (Alternatively, the onion may be browned, cut sides down, in a heavy skillet over medium heat.)
Add the onion, carrots, celery, parsley, and peppercorns to the broth in the pot, and salt to taste. Simmer, partially covered, until the capon is very tender and the stock is very flavorful, about 2 hours.
Strain the broth through a colander lined with a dampened kitchen towel or cheesecloth, reserving both the broth and the capon. If you want to use the stock immediately, you can remove much of the liquid fat floating on the surface by lightly dragging a folded paper towel across it. It will be easier to degrease the stock if you have time to chill it completely in the refrigerator. The fat will then rise to the surface and solidify, so it can be easily skimmed off.
When the capon is cool, remove the breast meat and shred it, discarding the skin and fat.
For the passatelli, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the cheese and 1 teaspoon salt; then stir in enough breadcrumbs, a bit at a time, to make a dough that is firm but still malleable.
Meanwhile, bring the capon stock to a simmer on the stove. Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel, and dust with flour. Press pieces of dough through the passatelli maker (or meat grinder with the widest holes), one piece at a time, and as extruded cut into 1-inch pieces and set on the baking sheet. Dust with flour, and repeat with the remaining dough.
Add the passatelli and spinach to the simmering stock, and cook until they rise to the surface. Stir in the truffle butter, and serve immediately, passing grated cheese at the table.