A traditional dish of the Italian region of Le Marche and its neighbor, Romagna, these simple and flavorful dumplings are the perfect warming comfort for Christmas or New Year’s. Passatelli derive their name from the special iron (basically a slotted spoon mounted with two handles) through which the dough was passed. Today, a potato ricer can be used. Lemon zest is often added to the dough, and there are rich meat versions as well. An excellent quality chicken or meat broth is essential.
*Note: If the eggs are small, you may need fewer breadcrumbs; if they are large, you might need some of the optional flour to tighten up the mixture.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese first, then the grated nutmeg and the eggs. Stir or knead by hand to obtain a homogeneous mixture. Divide the dough into pieces and press them through a potato ricer with ¼-inch holes to form short strings or dumplings.
Place the chicken broth in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Cook the passatelli by dropping them directly into the simmering chicken broth. Simmer until the dumplings are tender and float, approximately 2-3 minutes.
Strain the passatelli out of the broth with a slotted spoon or strainer and distribute them among 4 warm bowls. Ladle in the hot stock. Season with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with scallions.