Stale Bread & Cheese Balls (pallotte cacio e ovo)

Don’t let the name fool you. Pallotte cacio e ovo is an Italian dish that is just so delicious and fun to make. You can even get the kids involved if you like. What I will say is that this dish is can be a labour of love, but don’t let that stop you. Like myself, I always makes this dish on a weekend so that I can take my time and there is no shame to admitting that you can have a vino or two while enjoying the cook.

Whether you make this an entree or as a main dish, once you have it you will want make this again and again.

Stale Bread & Cheese Balls (pallotte cacio e ovo)

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Recipe by Dad’s Home Kitchen with Jase Pashley Course: DinnerCuisine: Italian


Prep time


Cooking time



To make the sauce

  • 3 Tbsp 3 extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 2 spring onions, roughly chopped

  • 1 clove 1 garlic, extra, finely chopped

  • 1 clove 1 garlic, skin on, bashed with the back of a knife

  • 1/4 1/4 red or green capsicum coarsely chopped

  • 1 small 1 celery stick, finely chopped

  • 400 g 400 tin tomatoes

  • 200 g 200 water

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 200 g 200 day-old Italian bread (e.g. pane di casa or ciabatta), remove crusts, break into chunks

  • 1 1 egg lightly beaten

  • 1 cup 1 of milk

  • 2 cups 2 finely grated parmesan or pecorino

  • 3 tbsp 3 roughly chopped basil

  • 3 tbsp 3 roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • olive oil, for deep-frying

  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Start by making the balls by soaking the bread in the milk for 20 minutes.
  • Squeeze out any excess milk then, with your hands, break down the bread to a pulp.
  • Add the cheese, egg and herbs & mix to make a sticky batter.
  • Season the mix to taste with salt & pepper, then rest in the fridge for another 20 minutes.
  • While that’s resting, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the spring onion, garlic, capsicum & celery, stirring, for 3–4 minutes.
  • Add the water and tinned tomatoes, season with salt & bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low & cook for about 20 minutes.
  • Shape the mixture into balls.
  • While the sauce is slowly cooking away, half fill fry pan with olive oil & heat over medium heat. You can test the heat with a little bit of bread, if it browns within 15 secs it’s ready.
  • Add the balls to the oil in batches & cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden & cooked through.
  • Carefully remove the balls and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.
  • Add the cooked dumplings to the tomato sauce, cover with the lid & stand, off the heat, for at least 45 minutes to an hour before serving.
  • Serve it up warm or reheat it, garnished with basil leaves.


  • Leave everything sit for at least 45 minutes to an hour before serving.This allows all the flavours to combine & your balls will also soak up some of the sauce.

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