Pesto Broth with Bread Dumplings
From © Sicily: The Cookbook by Melissa Muller, Rizzoli New York, 2017. © Photography by Sara Remington. Reprinted with permission.
- Servings: 4 to 6.
In her introduction to this old recipe, which she attributes to the Caruso family from Salina, a small island off of Sicily's northern coast, Melissa Muller, author of Sicily: The Cookbook wrote,
"It’s a soup prepared in the spring when the herb nepitella (also called calamint) is in season. The main element of the soup is the bread dumplings, which are cooked in a broth mixed with the nepitella pesto. I enjoyed this soup because of its simplicity, but also because of the soft texture and delicate flavor of the dumplings that allow the herbed broth to shine. In the absence of nepitella, I’ve found that a mixture of basil and mint makes a fine substitute."
- For the dumplings:
- 2 cups fine breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- For the pesto and broth:
- 2 cups fresh nepitella leaves (or a mixture of fresh basil and mint)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
- For the dumplings: In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, olive oil, parsley, egg, cheese, salt, and pepper. With your hands, roll the mixture into about 30 (3/4-inch) ball-shaped dumplings. Refrigerate while preparing the broth.
- For the pesto and broth: In a mortar using a pestle or in a food processor, grind or process the nepitella, garlic, and olive oil into a paste.
- Combine the nepitella pesto in a pot with the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the dumplings and reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the dumplings are sponge-like in texture. Serve immediately in the broth.