Passatelli with vegetable ragù

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Inspired by a trip to Emilia-Romagna, Luca Marchiori shares his recipe for passatelli, a little known pasta made from breadcrumbs, cheese and eggs. Typically served in a rich broth, Luca serves his passatelli in a delicious aubergine and courgette ragù.

First published in 2016

Passatelli is a unique kind of pasta originally from Romagna, now part of the larger region of Emilia-Romagna. I was taught to make them by the mother of a friend from that part of Italy. They derive their unique form and taste from the fact that they are made from breadcrumbs and cheese instead of flour.

Originally, the dough was shaped using a special implement called a ferro per passatelli, but today most people use a potato ricer. You need to choose one with large holes, of about 4mm in diameter.

Usually, passatelli are cooked and served in a meat or vegetable broth, which is why it is mostly associated with soups. However, for this recipe they are served with vegetable sauce, which is how I ate them on a recent trip to the city of Ravenna.

Passatelli are still little known outside Romagna and so this dish gives you a real taste of Italian regional cooking.





  • 150g of white breadcrumbs
  • 150g of Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 3g of nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 30g of cream cheese
  • 6l water
  • 1 tsp salt

Vegetable ragù


Begin by making the passatelli. Place the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until all of the ingredients are combined
Make a well in the middle of the breadcrumb mixture and add the eggs and cream cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to come together, then form into a ball with your hands. Leave the dough to rest for at least 1 hour
Pass the dough through a potato ricer to form the passatelli
Leave the passatelli to dry for about 30 minutes while you make the sauce
Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil. Heat gently, add the onion and cook until softened, for about 2 minutes
Add the aubergine and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the courgettes and salt and cook for a further 10 minutes
Add the tomatoes and white wine, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked, tear the basil leaves and stir through the sauce
Bring 6 litres of water with 1 teaspoon of salt to the boil. Gently drop the passatelli into the boiling water. Cook until they float to the top, for about 2 minutes, then drain
To serve, add the passatelli to the vegetable sauce and stir through gently, being careful not to break them. Place in bowls and garnish with a basil leaf

Discover more about this region's cuisine:

Luca Marchiori is a food writer, recipe developer and food historian. His blog Luca’s Italy is all about discovering authentic Italian food and sharing the recipes that Italians really eat.

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