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Passatelli – Parmesan Cheese Dumplings

Passatelli – Parmesan Cheese Dumplings

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Sometimes its the simple things in life that make me happy

(lets not panic I said sometimes)!

On cold winter days like we’ve had here in NY, I look forward to comfort food. These Parmesan Cheese Bread Dumplings are one of those comfort foods that make me oh so happy!

Parmesan Dumplings2

I always looked forward to it when my mother would prepare these dumplings in brodo (broth). They were one of my all time favorite things to eat in the heart of winter. I can remember them simmering away in a fresh pot of chicken stock. Once they began dancing around and floating to the top I would reach in and scoop them right out of the pot. Of course my Mother didn’t leave me an exact recipe but I have done my best to recreate her delicious dumplings (at least as I remember them).

dumplings in brodo

I call them parmesan dumplings but they are technically called “Passatelli”. The traditional passatelli, however,  look like a spaetzel. Instead of being rolled into a ball the passatelli dough is “passed” through a Passatelli Maker.  Thus yielding many small long dumplings.  More like a pasta shape than a traditional round dumpling.

I might have a vague recollection of my mother using something like a potato ricer when I was really young. My clearest memories of this dish, however, were eating these when they were made in the shape of meatball. 

Whichever method used, the main ingredients are basically the same:

Grated Parmesan Cheese; Bread Crumbs; eggs; nutmeg

NOTE: in my research I noticed that many of the recipes called for lemon zest but my mother never used lemon zest so I didn’t include it in my recipe. 

Preparing the dumplings is simple.  Mix all the ingredients together and then form teaspoon size (or smaller) balls with your hands.  Once your done making the dumplings proceed to drop them into your cooked broth. Gently simmer the passatelli for at least 20 minutes. 

TIP 1: When using store made broth bring it a boil before putting in the dumplings.

TIP 2: Once dumplings are in the pot lower the heat and gently simmer.  Do NOT boil the dumplings as they may fall apart.  

TIP 3: Once the dumplings begin to dance and float around the top this usually means they are done. 

As I mentioned above, my mother would serve these dumplings with a homemade Chicken broth.  Personally, I prefer these dumplings with a bowl of escarole soup. You can follow my recipe for Escarole and Beans (minus the beans) and then add the dumplings if you want to give this a try.

Parmesan Dumplings

Serve and enjoy warm with some extra grated parmesan cheese. 

Happy Cooking! 

Parmesan Cheese Dumplings (Passatelli)

Parmesan cheese and bread dumplings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs more if needed
  • 1/2 cups of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • optional: handful of finely chopped parsley
  • pinch optional:of nutmeg
  • 6 cups of stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, parsley and salt and pepper. Form tiny balls with mixture (like a mini meatball). Place the dumplings into a pot with warm stock.
  • Simmer the dumplings in the stock (or your favorite soup) for at least 20 minutes (or until cooked through the center).


*If dumplings are not accompanying another ingredient (e.g. escarole) you can make them much smaller and/or double the recipe.
* Gently simmer the dumplings and do not over boil or they may fall apart.
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Pat Citarella

Sunday 4th of June 2023

Can you freeze these dumplings until you are ready to cook with soup?

Tina DiLeo

Wednesday 7th of June 2023

Hi! I'm not a fan of freezing anything with raw egg. However, if you're planning to cook them and then freeze them I think that would be fine. Hope that answered the question! `Tina

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