Pallotte Cac’e Ove

Pallotte Cac’e Ove

Recipe by Majella Home Cooking ©


For the pallotte mixture: 6 cups day-old Italian bread, torn into tiny pieces (or pulsed in the food processor); 2 cups milk; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; 1 teaspoon of salt and several grindings of fresh black pepper; 1 cup grated Pecorino cheese; 2 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley; 1 teaspoon minced rosemary; 1 clove of garlic, minced; IF NEEDED, fine unseasoned breadcrumbs

For frying: ½ cup or more of extra virgin olive oil

For stewing: 4 cups Basic Homemade Tomato Sauce (see below)

For the Basic Homemade Tomato Sauce: 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, passed through a food mill or pulsed in a food processor until smooth (or approx 2 liters tomato puree - passata di pomodoro); 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil; 1 large onion, finely diced; 4 cloves garlic, minced; a branch of whole fresh basil leaves; sea salt, to taste


TO MAKE THE PALLOTTE: Place the torn bread in a wide bowl, pour the milk over it & mix well, until the bread is well-moistened by the milk (the bread shouldn’t be too wet or you’ll end up with a spongy texture). Let the bread & milk mixture sit for about an hour, until the milk is completely absorbed. Add the remaining ingredients & mix together until evenly incorporated. Try to form a spoonful of the mixture into a 2-inch ball - if it won’t hold together, add some breadcrumbs, a spoonful at a time, until it’s a consistency that holds. Form the remainder of the mixture into balls & set aside on a tray until you’re ready to fry them. (It helps to dab your hands with a bit of olive oil from time to time to keep them from getting too sticky.) Heat the tomato sauce in a wide sauce pan that can accommodate the pallotte, more or less, in a single layer, until it reaches a slow, steady simmer. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a wide skillet until shimmering & gently fry the pallotte for 2-3 minutes per side, until a golden crust forms, a batch at a time. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels & continue to fry the remainder of the pallotte in the same manner. Gently transfer the fried pallotte to the pot of sauce & simmer at a slow, steady pace for about 30 min., stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom. Serve immediately or reheat prior to serving - they’re even better the next day.

 TO MAKE THE SAUCE: In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat until soft & golden, about 6-8 min. Add the minced garlic & sauté for about a minute, until fragrant.  Add the reserved tomatoes & their juices & the basil, raise the heat & bring to a boil.  Lower the heat & simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining spoon of olive oil & a teaspoon pinch salt & simmer for 10 more minutes. Season to taste. Any unused sauce may be stored in a vacuum-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.