The full name for these dumplings is pallocche cacio e uova, cheese and egg dumplings or ‘meatballs’ and they are a speciality of Abruzzo. Rosa and Antonietta served them with the code di pecora pasta and tomato sauce as a surefire way of filling up strapping young men who’ve been doing manual labour all day. The pasta combo is not obligatory: serve these dumplings with just the tomato sauce, or you could increase the amount of peppers and turn it into a pepperonata sauce.
For the pallocche:
4 free range eggs
400g of breadcrumbs
400g grated cheese – Rosa uses a mixture of Pecorino and Parmesan
1 minced garlic
pince of salt and ground black pepper or cayenne
a tablespoon of chopped parsley
See here for the Tomato sauce
Mix everything together – you want make patties with the mixture, so it’s got to hold its shape when you lift it with a spoon. Add more breadcrumbs if it is too sloppy.
Rosa uses her own extra virgin oil – this is something of an extravagance if you have to buy it, so go for plain olive oil or sunflower oil. I quite like something I can buy in my local supermarket called rice oil – it’s flavourless and has a high smoking point.
Heat the tomato sauce in a sauté pan.
Pour enough oil into a small frying pan to about 1 centimetre depth – for a sort of deep shallow fry – and heat it over a moderate to high flame. Once simmering, spoon a generous tablespoon of the mixture into the oil, keeping the dollops well spaced apart.
Leave them alone for a couple of minutes to turn golden and form a crust before turning them over. Once they’ve turned a nice toasty colour, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the tomato sauce. You may have to do this in batches.
The pallocche can continue to simmer in the sauce for another 10 to 15 minutes. If the tomato sauce is destined to be served with pasta, remove the dumplings and serve them as a side dish. Serve with more grated cheese and a green salad.