From stale bread to a filling lunch!
Bread polpette

I use the term ‘stale bread’ very loosely. In my family kitchen bread tends to hide as its consumed at an incredible speed. We all have our own bread preferences, dare I say from the processed floppy sliced white loaf to a mild sourdough and also to a variety of seeded breads. I like a rustic loaf myself, something with a firm outer body crust to chew and a soft squishy pliable middle to welcome lashings of salted butter or as a base for mortadella, provolone picante (spicy cheese) and warm roasted peppers. If I’m being specific then a sliced loaf from our local Italian shop would cover all my requirements. My true carb weakness as well as pasta of course on every level!

That specifically said, these bread polpette are a frugal treat made with stale bread from the bottom of your breadbin. The neglected and unwanted bread that you would normally throw to the birds. However, in all honesty use what you have available and to hand. I often use a mixture of breads or a humble sliced white loaf, like I said, entirely up to you. These polpette scream cucina povera cooking and the simple style of cooking and preparation that surrounds them. These are without a doubt a favourite of mine. Make the mixture, roll it into balls and shallow fry them until golden, then dip them into a scrumptious tomato sugo (sauce) for 5 minutes before serving.

Alternatively make them and eat them warm or cold. I love them sliced and toasted in a panino with roasted peppers, but yes that would be bread in bread, but once in a while can’t hurt, can it? They can also be made, fried and froze for a speedy supper too. For added flavour and a little difference replace the parsley with chopped chives and add some chopped speck or prosciutto for a meaty taste which will add an incredible mild saltiness.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

250g stale bread crumbs
80g Parmigiano, grated (or use a vegetarian alternative)
½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp. oregano, dried
Sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
4 whole large eggs
Small bunch parsley, chopped, including stems
Season with salt and pepper
Olive oil to fry

1. Add the breadcrumbs to a large bowl along with the grated Parmigiano, bicarbonate of soda, dried oregano, chilli flakes (optional) and crushed garlic. Stir.
2. Crack in the eggs and add the chopped parsley. Stir. Season well with salt and pepper.
3. Place a frying pan on the hob and cover the base with olive oil. Bring to a medium heat. Add rolled balls of the bread dough and pan-fry until golden on all sides.
4. Once cooked, place them on some kitchen towel to drain away any excess oil. Repeat until all the mixture has been used and finished.

Carmela’s tip: You should be able to roll the mixture into balls. If the mixture is a little dry you can add a little milk.