Ah the polpette (meatball) – nothing embodies Italian cuisine quite like it! Delicious, simple, and versatile, the polpette / meatball is a small ball made primarily of ground meat and other elements like bread, eggs, cheese, and seasoning. The polpette is so good it can be eaten completely by itself or with a sauce, but can also literally be added to almost any meal. How many other foods do you know of that can be added to pasta, pizza, and even a sub / sandwich? It can take on any flavor profile, and can even be made a multitude of ways – fried, in the oven, in a crock pot, etc.
While the origin of the meatball is still heavily disputed (some believe Persia or China), I think we can all agree that Italy heavily popularized it. Since we love all variations that meatballs come in, we decided to make a complete list of our favorite recipes including both Italian and Italian-inspired versions. Not only did we want to share our favorite meatball recipes, but we also wanted to share some of our favorite recipes that use meatballs in them.
1. Traditional Italian Polpette al Forno
For a straight-forward traditional version, we love this very easy and simple recipe. While you can use different meat ratios, this one recommends a 50/50 beef and pork mixture with a 80% lean vs 20% fat ratio. This meat mixture, coupled with a panade (starch soaked in liquid) of bread crumbs soaked in milk, provides this meatball with a perfect and moist texture. Plus, we love that this recipe is al forno (in the oven) to avoid the pan-frying mess altogether. They can be eaten alone or with a salad, or even tossed into a sauce of your choosing!
⅓ cup plain bread crumbs
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs eggs
¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Get the full recipe and directions from Allrecipes
2. Polpette Neopaletana
For a perfect Neopalitan-style meatball in sauce, this is our favorite go-to recipe. It’s also a 50/50 beef and pork mix like the last recipe, but the bigger bread pieces for the panade make the meatballs bind together better. We also love that a little piece of mozzarella is placed in the middle of the meatball to give it added moisture and flavor. While this version does require pan frying, adding the simple tomato sauce more than makes up for it.
2 slices stale white bread, crusts removed
1 cup milk
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
9 ounces minced beef and pork, equal amounts
2 fresh eggs
2 ounces pecorino, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 buffalo mozzarella, drained and chopped into little pieces
If you’re looking for a meatball recipe where tradition meets food science, you’re going to want to check out this version. What started as a wife’s vow to her husband, has evolved into a lot of love and energy put into keeping this family recipe as close to the original as possible. Honestly the best recipes come from a place of love, and this recipe definitely shows that.
As mentioned, this recipe has a lot of food science research behind it which is why we love the texture and flavors so much. It recommends the following:
Forgoing the panade step (soaking the bread crumbs in a liquid) since enough juices will come out of the meat and will get soaked up in the bread crumbs.
Broiling the meatballs in the oven before simmering them in the tomato sauce. This initiates the Maillard reaction which basically yields an amazing flavor profile by browning the meat beforehand.
Creating the right texture by perfecting the meat to bread ratio.
Enhancing the meatball’s flavor by putting ingredients rich in glutamates (like tomatoes, onions, and garlic).
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup yellow onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
7 cups crushed canned tomatoes, Cento Brand or San Marzano tomatoes
6 ounces tomato paste, use less if a thinner consistency is desired
Want your polpette al sugo (in sauce) with a little bit of a kick? We love this fiery rendition of the classic meatball, which uses veal and sweet Italian sausage for a really tasty flavor depth. Making these for someone who doesn’t like spicy? No worries! Since the heat comes from the crushed red pepper in the sauce, you can make 2 versions of the sauce if needed.
1 pound ground veal
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup whole milk
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
If you want a meatball dish that’s really spicy then you’re going to love this one made with arrabbiata sauce. If you don’t know what arrabbiata sauce is, we’re here to tell you that ‘arrabbiata’ means ‘angry’ in Italian (aka it’s really spicy). This sauce (made with crushed tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot sauce, and an entire cup of red wine) is so good, that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
We also love that this recipe explains why we’re using the ingredients we’re using. More fat in the meat and the use of panko-style breadcrumbs means a juicier meatball. Dried oregano in the sauce since it doesn’t burn as well as other herbs. It also recommends Merlot as the best wine for this, and you can even swap out the wine for low-sodium broth if you prefer to go alcohol free.
Ground beef and pork – Use lean or regular beef, any kind you’d like, though the more fat in the meat the juicier your meatballs will be. You can substitute the pork for uncooked sausage out of the casing.
Egg – You’ll need 2 large eggs as the binding agent in the meatballs.
Spices – Garlic and onion powder.
Herbs – Dried dill, basil, and oregano. Dried herbs are concentrated flavor so if using fresh keep in mind that 1 tablespoon fresh equals 1 teaspoon dried.
Seasoning – Salt and pepper.
Breadcrumbs – Any kind you like, I prefer to use panko as it results in a way juicier meatball.
Olive oil – We want something nice and neutral tasting to saute our onion in.
Onion – We want something like white or yellow onion, it has a mild flavor and cooks down well.
Garlic – Use as much or little as you like.
Seasoning – Salt and pepper to taste.
Tomatoes – 1 full can of crushed tomatoes.
Herbs – Dried oregano because it won’t burn as it cooks down in our sauce and fresh basil to be roughly chopped up. If fresh is all you have on hand just keep in mind that 1 teaspoon dried equals 1 tablespoon fresh.
Broth – Low sodium to control the salt content of our dish. This will pack some more flavor into our pasta.
Wine – A rich red wine like merlot is perfect for this red sauce.
Spice – Use some of whatever hot sauce happens to be your favorite as well as some red pepper flakes.
Whether you love meatballs in your pasta, or meatballs by themselves, we hope you found a recipe that your entire family would love. Please share with us what you like in your meatballs, and which of these recipes was your favorite.
If you liked this polpette and meatball recipe round up, you’ll also probably like our best brodo recipes post.
Brodo is Italian for ‘broth’, which is often interchangeable with ‘stock’ and ‘bouillon’ so we’ll try to distinguish the differences here. While they all refer to a liquid that has simmered with meats or vegetables, they usually have some slight differences. Broth and stock have a similar process, except that stock is a much longer and slower process which provides it with a more intense flavoring than broth. And bouillon usually refers to a cube of powder that when thrown into hot water, becomes an ‘instant’ broth or stock.
Whether you refer to it as broth, stock, or bouillon, they all serve the same purpose when it comes to being used so frequently in the kitchen. Not only is it delicious enough to be the base of your soups, but it can also be used to cook grains, make gravy, sauces, and you can even use it as a pan de-glazer.
Because brodo/broth is such a huge staple in our kitchen, we’ve decided to share some of our favorite recipes. Not only are we sharing our favorite recipes and techniques for the broth itself, but we’re also sharing some of our favorite dishes to make with the broth…Did someone say tortellini in brodo? 😉
Brodo Vegetale / Vegetable Broth
In the simplest of terms it is vegetable broth, which is the broth that comes from simmering vegetables. With more and more people becoming vegetarian or vegan in the last decade, the popularity of brodo vegetale has definitely risen. Not only does broth serve as an ingredient for a lot of soup and non-soup recipes, but it’s also a great way to repurpose leftover vegetables.
1. Simple Vegetable Broth
The best simple vegetable broth will be one made with the best and freshest veggies. So while the type of vegetable you use is important (we personally can’t make one without yellow onions), the quality of vegetable will shine when you use a simple broth recipe like this one. So if possible, try to use organic fresh vegetables for a broth like this. Most broths can be simmered with the pot lid on, but feel free to remove the lid which will evaporate the water more and intensify the flavor. We also recommend cooking homemade pasta or risotto with this vegetable broth (instead of using plain water).
For the lucky ones that have a Bimby, we’re also showing our favorite recipe here. Technically you can use any recipe that you want when making your broth in a Thermomix, but we just love that this recipe uses zucchini and pumpkin which we love the added flavor profile it brings to the broth. if you are going to take a non-Bimby recipe and make it on the stovetop (or vice versa), just make sure to make the changes for the amount of time needed. Simmering broth on stovetop is about an hour plus, while simmering in a Bimby is typically half the amount of time.
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous and want to try make your own recipe based on the veggies you have at the moment, we highly recommend watching this video which will show you the do’s and don’ts when improvising with the veggies you have on hand. Here’s some of the do’s/don’ts:
Make sure you have a decent size pot and fill it half way with water
Use any veggies you have on hand (especially if they’re going bad)
Use an onion (including skin) to give the broth a little bit of color. Try not too add too many onion skins, otherwise it will turn the broth brown. For a clear stock, don’t use any onion skins.
Chop your veggies loosely into nice size chunks
Don’t use any overpowering vegetables like cabbage, kale, broccoli or cauliflower
Don’t use spices that are overpowering either (for example ginger, turmeric, curry)
Don’t use potatoes unless you want more of a starchy stock
Don’t forget that you can also use herbs
4. Dado Vegetale / Vegetable Nut
One of the best things about vegetable broth is that you can make your own dado vegetale (also referred to as vegetable nut or bouillon cube). You get the benefit of making a big batch of it at home, but don’t have to consume it all within a few days since they last in the freezer for about a month. They’re also great for weeknight dinners when you want to cut down on prep time. It’s why I like to refer to them as ‘instant broths’ because you can just drop them into your recipe and let the cube take care of the rest. We love this recipe from Misya because she’s perfected the vegetable to salt ratio to ensure the cubes don’t get freezer burn.
Our favorite thing to do with brodo vegetale is to use it to make risotto with. Why opt for plain boring water when you make your risotto, when you can use flavorful broth made from delicious simmering vegetables instead? once you make this switch, you’ll find that you’ll want to grab broth instead of water when you boil your starches like rice and pasta. Not only is it a great way to use up expiring veggies, but it provides additional flavor and nutrients that you just can’t get with water.
For a simple and versatile risotto, we love this recipe which makes a great base for any protein you want to add. It’s so good you can even eat it by itself. Just a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of freshly grated parmesan is all you need to kick up the flavor profile.
180 g of carnaroli rice, ribe (or other for risotto)
I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t making chicken broth just require throwing chicken pieces into a pot of water? Well technically you could just do that, but we recommend also including vegetables. And like any recipe, it’s not just the ingredients that are important, but also the steps. Here are our favorite chicken broth and chicken noodle soup recipes.
6. Simple Chicken Broth Recipe and Tips
If you’re looking for the best chicken broth recipe, here is our favorite. This recipe includes tips and tricks to ensuring you get the most flavorful broth every single time. To achieve this, we specifically love this recipe and use it all the time.
They recommend using what they call ’soup chickens’, which they define as older chickens, and therefore provide more flavor to the broth. You can usually find these in the store by searching for packaging labeled as ‘hens’ that typically weigh more than the young chickens (between 4-7 pounds). Make sure to do a thorough trimming of excess fat and cleaning of the chickens. And if you have extra time, they also recommend doing a pre-boil of the chicken by itself to get all of the foam to the surface of the water. After that, it can be placed in pot of fresh cold water along with the vegetables for the recipe.
Soup chicken pieces (3-3.5 pounds total)
4.5–5 litres cold water to make the broth (you will need extra if doing the chicken pre-boil step)
I don’t know what it is about chicken noodle soup that is so nostalgic for me. Maybe because in my family this was the soup you had anytime you were sick, that it (over time) literally became a food that comforted me. As an adult, it’s still the first thing i want the moment I feel a little scratch in my throat. I could eat chicken noodle soup with saltine crackers every night for dinner and I would be fine.
Something amazing happened when I got older and got more experienced in the kitchen. If I thought I already loved chicken noodle soup, boy did everything change once i started making the broth and pasta from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, the childhood version of the soup still holds a special place in my heart. But now that I’ve made this recipe with both the chicken broth and pasta from scratch, there’s no going back.
Brodo Di Pollo
1 1/4 pounds bone-in chicken breasts or 8 meaty chicken breast bones from the butcher
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 bunch parsley
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
Brodo di carne, much like chicken broth, is made by simmering meat in water. But in this instance it is with beef instead of chicken. The debate on whether to go with beef vs chicken really comes down to personal preference. I usually like to think about the people that I’m cooking for when I decide which one to use. For instance, my sister-in-law who is vegetarian, is ok with chicken broth. But she actually has a large distaste for the flavor of beef.
I also try to think of the flavor profile of what recipe I’m using it for. if I have a really distinct flavor that i don’t want to detract from (for instance shrimp or lobster), I will usually opt for chicken broth since it’s a milder flavor and won’t compete as much with the beautiful seafood flavors.
And lastly one thing to point out…If you are making these into bone broths, i recommend using beef bones over chicken bones since they generally have more collagen (which is one of the benefits of drinking bone broth). The only exception to this rule is if you happen to have chicken feet bones. There is a ton of collagen in chicken feet bones, so that’s the only time I would pick chicken over beef bones. Since bone broth popularity has risen so much in the past few years, we’ve included a recipe for that in this list as well.
8. Simple Brodo Di Carne
While this version of the beef broth is really simple, it actually has some steps in the process that really make a difference in the final outcome. First off, they use several different types of beef cuts including beef shoulder pulp, beef steak, and then also beef bones. Second of all, they also have step-by-step pictures of how to prep your vegetables which I like to refer back to. It helps with those questions on whether your pieces are too big or too small. And lastly, I like that the first step is toasting the onion in a pan of oil before throwing it into the simmer pot, which allows the onion to carmelize. This gives the broth a sweet and nuttiness.
As mentioned before, beef bone broth is a great way to get extra collagen. it provides so many great health benefits including but not limited to: healthy bones, hair, and nails, better brain function, reduction in inflammation, and assistance in digestion. To get as much collagen as possible from your beef bones, we recommend using a slow cooker. The longer you cook, the more benefits you will get from your broth.
There is nothing quite like a slow cooked beef bone broth. Leave it simmering for hours upon hours provides such a rich and deep flavor, and it actually gets even more flavorful when you eat it the next day. Because of this, we recommend making this broth recipe a day before you plan to use it. This will allow you ample slow cook time, and then allows the ‘blossoming’ that happens overnight when you refrigerate it.
You can achieve the same results of a slow cooker in a shorter amount of time, by using a pressure cooker. I like using this method when I’m not able to slow cook for an entire day, and I also think that the meat comes out a bit more tender with this method.
10. Bollito / Brodo di Carne Meat Soup
Bollito translated to English means ‘boiled’ and is typically a soup consisting of various types of meat. The rest of the recipe can however change depending on what region of Italy you’re in, but we love this recipe due to our own selfish reason: remember how we said we love chicken noodle soup? Well this is chicken noodle soup’s cousin, except it’s made from beef. And not just any beef, but beef short ribs! Beef short ribs are so tender and juicy especially when you put them in a soup or stew. Try this recipe if you’re normally a chicken noodle soup fan – you may just uncover that you have a new favorite.
2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
12 cups water
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 2 large potatoes) peeled and quartered
1/2 cup carrots cut into a ¼ inch dice
1/4 cup onion cut into a ¼ inch dice
2 plum tomatoes cut into a 1 inch dice
1/2 cup stalks of celery cut into a ½ inch dice and a few leaves
11. Brodo di Carne Beef Soup with Farfalline Pasta
This is the only recipe we’ve listed where all of the meat and veggies are browned before simmering in water. While it is a bit of extra work, we still recommending going this route if you have a bit of extra time. I’m not really sure how this occurred for both my husband and myself, but we both really like the flavor of slight charring. Maybe it’s because we love barbecue, and that char taste is so pronounced in barbecued foods, that we’ve ended up with an acquired taste for it.
By browning your ingredients first, you can leave them in the pan for a little longer to obtain that slight char flavor. While this recipe does require a little bit more prep time, we think the end result is totally worth it.
1 kg – beef chuck steak (braising steak)
4 Tbsp (80 ml) – extra virgin olive oil
1 – onion (whole)
2 – carrots, roughly chopped
1 – celery stalk, roughly chopped
2 – bay leaves
1 – thyme sprig
2 Tbsp – tomato paste
4 – black peppercorns
4 litres – cold water
160 g – farfalline pasta (small bow tie shaped pasta)
Looking for that hearty, sit cozy by the fire kind of soup? Then this is the soup for you! There are nice chunks of meat and potatoes, which make this soup so filling. And having such big pieces of vegetables like carrots, celery, and corn, makes this recipe not only delicious but also super healthy.
This is the perfect soup for winter! I can imagine that this soup would be prefect on a really cold night, especially when trying to warm up after coming inside. This is exactly what I would want to eat after skiing on the slopes, getting into the cabin, and needing to fuel up and warm up at the same time.
Also, you can opt to remove some of the liquid after cooking, if you prefer to convert this into a stew. Both methods would work for this recipe.
Tortellini in Brodo is a favorite pasta dish of Aziz Ansari, which he tried in Bologna.
Have you checked out Master of None starring Aziz Ansari on Netflix? We discovered the show this past week and devoured the whole first season in a few days. The show is hilarious and covers topics relevant for today’s time. You will also notice a common theme through out the show, pasta.
It is no surprise that pasta is Aziz’s favorite food. You hear, see and learn all kinds of pastas tidbits sprinkled throughout the show. He wears a cool t-shirt with the slogan “I Love Pasta” in one scene and in another scene makes carbonara. After each episode, I found myself craving a bowl of pasta.
I then decided to find out what is Aziz’s favorite dish and in an interview found here, he divulged it is the savory tortellini in brodo. I had the good fortune to try this dish before in a restaurant in Northern California. The plump pasta bites were filled with a delicious cheese combination. The tortellini swam in a beef broth that tasted as if the shank had been slowly cooked for hours.
Ever since then, the search for our favorite recreations was on. Here are some of our favorite recipes, perfect for the winter months!
And if you want to jump ahead and see our absolute favorite recipe, scroll to the end to see recipe #5 which comes from a family in Bologna, Italy. It is truly a masterpiece!
13. Simple Tortellini in Brodo
When it comes to food, sometimes keeping the recipe simple is the way to go. That’s what I love about this version in particular. No frills, nothing fancy. Just fresh handmade pasta with simple, delicious broth. It’s perfect for a really cold night, or even as a light lunch or side to a meal. It’s also a great way to get rid of any vegetables that you know you’re not going to use. You’ll love how quick and easy this recipe is, you’ll find that it’s a great go-to when you want something simple and delicious. Not only does she recommend batch-making and freezing them for later. But she also has a step-by-step folding guide with pictures for each step. This comes in handy for people like me who need to see exactly how the folding technique should be.
7 oz fresh tortellini pasta (200 g)
3 cups water (720 ml)
2 tbsp fresh carrots chopped
½ chicken bouillon cube or vegetable bouillon cube
2 tbsp fresh celery chopped
2 tbsp onion chopped
1 large garlic clove peeled
6 fresh sage leaves
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
Get the full recipe and directions from June Darville. She also has a great tortellini recipe located here.
14. Spinach Tortellini in Brodo
i will admit that I’m not a vegetarian. I love meat and have it for nearly every single meal. While I don’t mind eating vegetarian meals every now and again, I usually walk away feeling like I missed the meat. Well this is one of a few recipes that is so good and satisfying that i don’t even notice the meat is missing. Or maybe it’s because the cheese tortellinis melt in your mouth. Or maybe it’s because the broth is beautifully flavored with the parmesan rind and a pinch of nutmeg.
This is also a great recipe to sneak a lot of veggies in. Feel free to double down on the veggies called for in the recipe, or add in extra beans or tomatoes.
If you liked that last vegetarian recipe, you will also really love this one. While this broth also uses the same secret ingredient of parmesan rind, the broth is kicked up a notch due to the white wine and abundance of cremini mushrooms. I’m a huge fan of mushrooms, so I knew I was going to love this recipe before I even tried it. But i was not prepared for how rich and umami-packed this recipe would be. I love the broth so much that i could probably eat it without the tortellini. I’m not going to, but I almost could.
7 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (reserve the stems)
As mentioned earlier, I’m a pretty big meat lover. That’s probably why this recipe is one of my favorites. The filling is made with a blend of tender pork belly, chicken thigh, and boneless beef chuck roast (or as I like to call it, a “trifecta of meat”). The meat combined with fresh parmesan is a winning tortellini in my book. And because sometimes I’m too lazy to roll out fresh pasta whenever I’m craving it, I love that this recipe also recommends using square wonton wrappers. If you’re looking for a quick and easy meat tortellini in broth recipe, I recommend this as the one to start with.
6 cups water, plus more for brushing
1 (6-ounce) bone-in, skin-on chicken thigh
1 small carrot, cut into thirds
1 small celery stalk, cut into thirds
3 ounces skinless uncured pork belly, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ounces boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated with a Microplane grater (about 21/4 cups), divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground whole nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten
1 large egg, beaten
1 pound 00 flour (about 4 cups), plus more for sprinkling
17. Tortellini in Brodo (Traditional Bologna Style)
While the previous recipes on this list are a bit on the quick and easy side, I will admit that this next recipe is quite labor-intensive. I don’t even think I can call it a recipe cause it’s actually art in the form of food. This recipe was handed down generation to generation from a family in Bologna. The reason I’m mentioning this point is because some have claimed that Bologna is the birthplace of the tortellini…
You can read all about the legend of how tortellinis came to be located here. But the abridged version of the story is that an inn keeper in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy had the joy of the goddess Venus staying at his inn. He was so overcome by her beauty that he would spy on her through the keyhole, where he could only see her navel. He was then inspired to create a pasta in the shape of her navel – ombelico di Venere (which translates to Venus’ navel).Which today we call the tortellini.
The whole story (if true) is kind of strange. But the reason I bring it up is because there has been centuries-long debates on the birthplace of the tortellini, between the 2 towns of Bologna and Modena (both which are in the Emilia region of Italy). So whether you believe if Modena or Bologna is the rightful birthplace, it doesn’t really matter. Both towns have hundreds of years of experience in perfecting the recipes and technique. Any recipe that comes from generations of families from either Modena or Bologna should be treated as gold.
Check out this amazing traditional recipe from Christina’s family in Bologna!
In approximately 7 litres of water she simmers chicken, beef brisket, oxtail and shin. Along with celery, carrot, a bay leaf, and an onion with a garlic clove shoved into it. Noting that she keeps the skin on the onion, to help the stock gets is beautiful golden color.
Filling is a blend of 700 grams of pork shoulder, 700 grams of mortadella, and 350 grams of prosciutto. Along with 3 eggs, 600 grams of parmigiano (la forma), 35 grams of salt, a little bit of pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
Tortellini Pasta Sheet
She performs the classic well technique with 500 grams of flour and 5 room temperature eggs, kneading it until smooth. And then lets it rest in a plastic bag for 1-3 hours. After that she rolls the dough out very thin, letting it hang over the board to help the dough stretch. She also rolls it out on a sheet of plastic to help keep the pasta from drying out, and uses a roller to cut it into perfect 3 centimeter squares.
Filling the Tortellini
She rolls a little sausage of the filling in her hands and places a tiny dab onto each square, before folding them into perfect little triangles. These are so small and only weigh about 2 grams each, stating that each person will have about 40 tortellini in their soup. After folding them she lets them dry on a mesh tray, then simmers them in the brodo for about 3 minutes before plating them.
Watching Christina and her family makes these tortellinis is like watching a masterpiece. The amount of love and attention to detail they put into their food is so inspiring. It makes me want to carry on their family tradition and make this recipe for my family every Christmas – here’s a version of it with shrimp!
Which of these recipe stood out to you? Is there one you want to tackle first? Or will it depend on what you’re in the mood for? Or are you like me and do the simple version on a day-to-day basis, with the mushroom version when I want some umami, and the traditional Bologna version for my family on Christmas?
If you liked this brodo recipe round up, you’ll want to check out our favorite holiday cakes in our Best Ciambellone Recipes post.
The term ciambelle literally means something that is in the form of ring. Ciambella is a ring-shaped cake, while ciambelle typically means donuts. The great thing about ciambelle is that they can be both sweet and savory. The classic savory ones are comparable to American ballpark soft pretzels, and are often made with fennel or anise flavors. The sweet ones of course are similar to classic pastries, which can have just sugar or even fruity components. And because we love both the savory and sweet versions, we’re sharing our favorite recipes from both categories.
1. Ciambelle with Anise
While we share a lot of recipes on our website, we especially love the ones that are passed down from generation to generation. There is something so magical about family members making food together and ensuring the recipes stay as close to the original as possible. And as always, these recipes end up being very nostalgic and you can definitely taste the ‘love’ that’s been placed in them.
This recipe comes from the region of Lazio, Italy and was passed down from grandmother to grandchild. We love the braiding technique on this, which gives it such a beautiful rustic feel. Its bagel like texture and aromatic light anise flavoring makes it great side for lunches or dinners. Or it can even be eaten alone as a snack!
For those who want a savory version but find anise to be a bit too strong, we recommend trying the fennel version. Fennel has a similar flavor profile as anise, but is not as powerful. This too is also a recipe that’s been handed down from generation to generation, which is why the amount of chewiness in this recipe has been perfected. While hard to describe, I would say it’s comparable to a bagel and gets even chewier after a couple of days. These can be eaten fresh within a week, or frozen for up to a month.
What do you do with your left over wine? You could drink it all. Or you could cook with it by placing it in your sauces. But have you ever placed them in baked goods? If you haven’t, you’re in for a real treat. This recipe for these cookies are a subtley-sweet treat with a hint of wine flavoring, and are perfect flavors the Fall and Winter!
The dough is very easy to come together, but the secret is not to over-knead. This trick will ensure the cookies have the perfect crispy texture. Feel free to dunk them in milk, coffee, or even more wine. Hey, the more wine the merrier, right?
We couldn’t talk about donuts without talking about our favorite fritelle (fried) version. This is classic as it can get when it comes to the sweet version of the donut, and this recipe is the best one we’ve tried. Not only is it the prefect melt-in-your-mouth texture, but the flavor has a nice balance of lemon and sweetness.
Make sure to follow this recipe’s instructions to the ’T’ since working with fried foods can be a little tricky. Some of the tips include using both bread and all purpose flour to achieve the right amount of porous-ness (is that a word?) And also making sure the oil temperature is high enough so that the donut is actually getting fried instead of just absorbing the oil (since you don’t want them to end up being greasy).
This is one of my favorite recipes to make for Christmas morning and I must admit that I try to make these only for Christmas, otherwise I’d be eating them all year-round.
If you love the taste of sweet donuts but want an alternative to the fried version, then we recommend trying this oven-baked version. They’re still sweet and delicious, but are a bit more guilt-free due to the fact that they don’t require any oil or butter. Even without the typical fats in these donuts, they are surprisingly so light and fluffy you’ll be amazed. The secret to this recipe is the Manitoba or American flour which has the right amount of leavening which will provide the dough with the right amount of elasticity and texture. With being a healthier option compared to the fried version, feel free to eat an extra one, or 2, or 3 donuts!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on which ciambelle recipes you’re excited to try. Are you more into the sweet or the savory? or does it depend on the occasion? And remember, all the recipes we shared are great base recipes. Feel free to add your favorite flavor profiles to the recipes to tailor them to your liking. If you like these recipes, we definitely recommend taking a look at our favorite Torta Paradiso post. There are some amazing cake recipes there, so definitely check it out!
Torta Paradiso translates to ‘soft heaven cake’ and it definitely lives up to its name. It is rumored that it got its origin and name in the 1800s after a friar in Pavia made the cake for the monastery, and the other friars rejoiced that it was a ‘slice of paradise.’ Similar to a sponge or chiffon cake, the torta paradiso is light and airy and is known for its versatility. Though there are several variations, it is primarily made of 3 main ingredients: flour, sugar, and butter. It’s delicate texture and flavor make it a great snack or breakfast. And while it’s great on its own, it also works well with fillings, creams, custards, or even fruit. With both kids and adults clamoring over it, it’s no wonder torta paradiso is a classic favorite. There are so many great variations, it was difficult for us to only pick a handful of our favorite recipes…
1. Traditional Soft Recipe
We love this recipe from Simona at tavolartegusto, which she has perfected over the years. She started with a very traditional recipe, improving it over time, by making it a melt-in-your-mouth kind of cake. Not only is it so delicate, fragrant, and soft, but it’s also a fairly quick and easy cake to make (with a few secrets and tips).
One of the most important aspects of this recipe are the quality and measurements of the actual ingredients. Examples are making sure you use the highest quality and all natural butter, powdered sugar, and lemons. Nothing synthetic like vanilla flavored sugar or store-bought lemon juice. Also making sure to weigh specific ingredients like the egg yolks to make sure the ratios are correct.
There are also techniques to perfecting the cake. Making sure only room temperature ingredients are used before combining everything. How to perfect your whipped butter, and also how to slowly fold in the other ingredients. And the recipe even recommends cooling the cake upside down to ensure the top stays even. It’s seriously perfection in a cake form!
We can’t talk about this cake without discussing a recipe that replicates the Kinder Paradiso version. If you’re not familiar with this family favorite, it’s a prefect pre-packaged cake snack made of 2 sponge cake layers with a milk cream filling sandwiched in the middle. I know what you’re thinking, if the pre-packaged snack is so perfect, then why do you need a recipe to replicate it? Well, actually making it in giant size and having it fresh out of the oven is the exact reason how you can make a perfect cake even more perfect. Plus the filling in this is made with cold cream, honey, and condensed milk. Did we mention we’re obsessed with anything containing condensed milk? It’s no wonder we love this replica recipe so much!
Here’s a version of the cake you can make with or without a Thermomix / Bimby. Much like other recipes we’ve seen, it claims its melt-in-your-mouth texture comes from high quality raw ingredients and eggs. With a little bit of lemon zest and vanilla flavoring, its simple ingredients make it a great base for icing sugar or even Nutella. As mentioned there are 2 recipes to check out: one with the Bimby and one without.
It’s no secret that the original version has a lot of butter in it. For some who are maybe wanting a less-guilty version, we recommend this recipe that has no butter. To maintain the moisture of the cake, this recipe uses water and sunflower oil instead of butter. This way you still get a decadent cake with a little less calories!
All of the recipes we’ve shared have been the basic flavors, which are definitely delicious. But if you’re looking to spice it up a bit we recommend this recipe with a luxurious fruit filling. This cake is double-layered with a filling of creamy marscapone and fresh blueberries. Its purple center is so beautiful and rustic there’s no need to cover this cake in icing or powdered sugar. And if blueberries aren’t your thing, you can swap them for strawberries or blackberries, of even a medley.
Just talking about these recipes makes me want to start baking! The hard part is deciding which one I want to make since they’re all so good. Which torta paradiso recipe do you think you’ll try first? If you liked this post, we recommend checking out our favorite Ciambellone Recipes post. There are some amazing cake recipes there, so definitely check it out! Are there other cakes you would like to see recipes for?
Ciambellone (also referred to as Ciambella) is a delicious Italian tea cake with a texture that includes both the bounciness of a spongecake, with the perfect crust of freshly baked bread. The flavors are usually simple and sweet which make it a perfect cake for breakfast. Try it alongside some berries or fruit, or even with some coffee.
A lot of the variations will include citrus (such as lemon or orange), chocolate, or sometimes yogurt. While there are so many flavor variations (which can depend on the region of Italy the recipe is from), this cake is almost always in a ring shape. It’s kind of like an Italian version of the bundt cake. With prep time being very minimal, it’s no wonder we love making these cakes from scratch. Here are just a few of our favorite recipes!
1. Ciambellone Classico (Traditional)
If you’re looking for a good traditional style recipe, definitely check this one out. You might even have most of these ingredients already in your pantry. Plus it’s a great base version if you did want to add your own fruit or flavorings to the mix. We also like that it recommends lemon zest, which gives just a hint of the citrus flavor without being too overpowering with lemons. And lastly, it’s topped off with powdered sugar which is our favorite trick for making desserts look extra fancy especially for when we’re entertaining.
If you’ve never made or had ciambella before this is a great one to start with, then you can tweak it to your own preferences. This recipe even recommends testing out adding vanilla bean, poppy seeds, raisins, or even candied fruit. The possibilities are endless!
This version of the cake has a lot of the same ingredients as the classic version, but by making a couple of tweaks you can achieve a very tall and cloud-like texture. (This is where it gets its nickname ’soft and tall’). It is very comparable to the process of making a chiffon cake, so if you’ve done a chiffon cake before you’ll already know a lot of the techniques needed when handling whipped egg whites. And if not, no worries – there are only a couple of things needed to be done:
Use only room temperature ingredients
While mixing all of the components only takes about 15 minutes, using room temperature ingredients typically means planning in advance so that you know to take the eggs and milk out of the fridge for at least an hour or 2 prior. So please consider this extra time needed in your planning.
Beating your egg whites stiff
This means beating them to the point that stiff peaks form (meaning, when you pull the mixer out, a little peak forms and can stand straight up). While this part may be a challenge to identify at first, it will help you achieve the fluffiest cake possible. If you need assistance in being able to distinguish the difference between soft peaks, firm peaks, stiff peaks, and over-beaten, this video below does a great job in assisting with this.
Folding the Ingredients In
Once your egg whites are stiff and cloud-like, you will want to maintain that fluffy texture by folding the rest of the ingredients in. Do not use a mixer of any sort (electric or manual), but instead gently fold them into the egg whites by using a spatula and turning the bowl after each fold (so you don’t over-mix in one area).
Use a High-Wall Cake Mold
And lastly, you’ll want to use a cake mold that has really high walls. This will help you to achieve a really high cake.
If you thought this cake couldn’t get any better, wait until you try the 2-colored (bicolore) version. This technique is achieved by pouring in half of the plain batter into the mold. Coloring the remaining batter in the bowl, and then pouring the newly colored batter into the rest of the mold. Most variations of this use chocolate or cocoa for a ‘black and white’ effect, but this doesn’t mean you only have to use chocolate. You could also use food coloring if you wanted the cake to match with a party theme, or you could even blend in some strawberries for a naturally colored pink batter.
We’ve also seen a really cool method of getting the 2 colors to have a swirl effect. You can achieve this by pouring in half of the plain batter into the mold. Coloring the remaining batter in the bowl, and then pouring a tiny amount of the colored batter around the mold. Take a spoon and zig-zag it once through the mold to get the colors to mix a bit, but not too much that they blend together, and then pour the remaining amount of the newly colored batter into the rest of the mold. It’s just so pretty, and a lot of fun to do!
Adding yogurt to a cake recipe introduces a moisture-rich, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The challenge of course is in making sure that the cake doesn’t deflate too much after being removed from the oven. Luckily for you, this recipe will give you the perfect yogurt cake every time (the trick is to make sure that the yogurt is at room-temperature).
I also love that this recipe recommends an apricot-flavored yogurt. I love how apricot tastes in desserts, and am often surprised at how very little it’s used. So I’m glad that it’s recommended here. A couple of other things to note: this is a great recipe for people that don’t want to use butter in their baking. And also, the use of yogurt help keeps the moisture in the cake for up to 4 days. But it will most likely be completely eaten by then.
300 grams of flour ’00
4 medium eggs at room temperature
225 grams of sugar
188 grams of apricot yogurt without pieces or creamy white (warm / room temperature)
120 ml of sunflower oil
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated peel of 1 orange
the seeds of a vanilla bean or 1 sachet of vanillin
5. Ciambella Al Limone e Marscapone (Lemon and Marscapone)
For those who love lemon desserts, this is a great ciambellone recipe to try. It has more lemon flavoring than the classic version since it utilizes both lemon juice and lemon zest. And the marscapone adds a nice level of sweetness and moisture. Similar to using the yogurt in the recipe above, we recommend the marscapone to be room temperature as well.
As an added bonus, this recipe can swap out regular flour for gluten-free flour. So if you’re needing a gluten-free cake option this is definitely one to check out.
This concludes our roundup of our favorite ciambellone recipes. Which ones did you like, or think you would try? Honestly, this cake is so versatile and simple, that it will pretty much go with anything. You really can’t go wring with which version you try. If you liked this post, we also recommend checking out our favorite Ciambelle Recipes post.
Today’s post will introduce the famous Beecher’s Mac & Cheese Pasta, that could be an easy Thanksgiving tradition for you and your family.
Last year, my husband and I took a short-trip up to Seattle, Washington. It was my first time visiting and I was beyond excited. The cool air of fall circled the city and cast a hazy moody fog over the area. It felt and looked exactly how I imagined it to be.
We rented an Air B and B home and used Uber, Lyft and Sidecar to get around. Highly recommend doing this, you won’t have to worry about parking and knowing directions for an unknown area. We found there to be plenty of drivers and all were delightful.
You can’t visit Seattle and not stop at the famous Pike’s Place Market. We only had a few days in the city and I spent most of that time walking up and down the area trying out all the food vendors I could. I had heard of a cheese shop that sold Oprah’s favorite mac & cheese, Beecher’s. In this shop, there is a window where you can watch the cheese being prepared right before your eyes. In another area of the store there is an area to purchase cheese and other specialty items. The busiest section is the food counter. You can select a variety of daily dishes, but don’t leave with out trying the classic mac & cheese. I purchased my bowl and happily found a seat at the counter and dove in. It was heavenly. So good, I did not want to share the bowl with my husband (yep, he had to go buy his own). The combination of cheeses they combined to make this smooth and unique flavor was satisfying on this chilly fall day.
Luckily, if you fly out of the Seattle Airport there is a Beecher’s location in there as well for a last minute bite before leaving the area. For all those that live farther out, I’ve found a recipe to make the cheese sauce in the comfort of your own home. Combined it with any pasta you like, I suggest the classic penne and enjoy!
2 ounces Jack cheese, preferably Just Jack, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
[tw-button size=”medium” background=”” color=”green” target=”_blank” link=”http://www.marthastewart.com/319315/beechers-flagship-cheese-sauce/”]View full directions at Martha Stewart [/tw-button]
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