This pasta grattugiata recipe is essentially grated pasta in broth, a frugal Italian staple made with flour, eggs, bread crumbs, and cheese that’s intensely satiating.
Pasta grattugiata translates quite literally as “grated pasta,” and it’s as ancient as it is easy. As with many rustic Italian dishes, the author explains, the dish was created by the poor to utilize old or stale bread. (Some renditions call for a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg, supposing you had that on hand.) Drowning the resulting grated pasta in a hearty chicken broth made for an intensely satisfying bowl of soup. Actually, it still does.–Renee Schettler
CAN I MAKE PASTA GRATTUGIATA AHEAD OF TIME?
While we think you’ll have a hard time resisting using these little pasta shreds immediately, if you have leftovers or just want to wait, it’s possible. Spread’em out on a baking sheet, and once they’re completely dry, store in an air-tight container for up to a week.
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
- 1 cup 00 flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 8 cups homemade chicken stock
- Kosher salt
- In the bowl of a food processor, process the bread crumbs until finely ground. Add the flour, eggs, and cheese and process until a ball is formed, about 1 minute.
- Dump onto a work surface and knead the mixture with your hands 10 times, or until a cohesive dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- On the large holes of a box grater, grate the pasta dough into small crumbles.
- Fill a large pot with the chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the pasta grattugiata and simmer until tender, about 2 minutes. Lightly season the broth with salt and serve right away.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
A few weeks ago, I was sick. Stay-on-the-couch-under-a-pile-of-blankets sick. This is the soup I didn't know I needed at the time. I didn't know because I'd never heard of it. But it's pure comfort. This is a soul-soothing dish made of pretty much nothing.
Because I'm really horrible at using up all those bits and pieces in the kitchen, I'm always drawn to recipes that show true kitchen economy. The pasta grattugiata came together with absolutely no effort. Because the dough was kind of grainy (due to the bread crumbs), I was questioning how it would grate. I was imagining something like spaetzle but ended up with something more rustic, like little bits of torn-up bread.
I also imagined it all clumping together once it hit the broth. My concerns were completely unwarranted. The pasta cooked to perfection in the 2 minutes indicated. How much easier can you ask a dish to be? I can totally see myself making this when I need a little TLC.
Ask any Italian-American what dish has comforted them from cradle through adulthood, and they will tell you without hesitation, "pastina in broth." While commercial pastina is typically shaped like little stars, this preparation of pasta grattugiata produces similarly small and comforting little "pasta bits" that swell and nourish the soul just as pastina does.
The recipe couldn't be simpler to prepare, with ingredients most of us keep as pantry staples anyway. This means on those days when you drag your weary self into the house after a long and grueling day, this satisfying, rustic dish can be in your bowl in no time.
A little trick I came upon while grating the pasta dough was to squeeze and firm up the ball of pasta dough after a few passes across the box grater. I also found it helpful to grate the dough over a piece of parchment or wax paper. This allows you to spread the small crumbles across a bigger surface area which eliminates clumps that would need to be worked apart later when adding the pasta to the stock. When you're ready to add the pasta grattugiata to the stock, you just gather the parchment in half lengthwise and shake the paper over the stock to sprinkle in the bits. Neat and clean!
The pasta grattugiata took about 2 minutes to become tender. Don't be afraid to add some pieces of carrot or celery to the stock while you're waiting for the dough to set. Serves 4 hungry people heartily.
It's most satisfying to make a recipe that works exactly as described. We were attracted to this recipe because of the grating of pasta dough, which sounded fun. From start to finish, this recipe takes 45 minutes maximum.
We set the stock to boil after the dough had rested, so if you start that earlier, you may have this simple soup on the table in 35 minutes. The cooked pasta grattugiata has a pleasant "tooth." Be certain to grate all the dough into little pieces; the bigger pieces of dough don't quite cook through.
We grated all our dough onto a big plate, then swooped the whole mass at once into the simmering broth, which worked well. The flavor of this soup will be only as subtle or spectacular as your broth. This is perfect for a person on the mend or for little ones who like uncomplicated meals.
Originally published April 17, 2016