Bread Soup (Zuppa Di Polpettine Di Pane)
Brown Chicken Stock:
- 2 tablespoons - Extra-virgin olive oil
- Bones, wings & scraps of 3 - Whole chickens, excess fat removed
- 3 - Carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 - Onions, coarsely chopped
- 4 - Celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 3 quarts - Water
- 2 tablespoons - Tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon - Black peppercorns
- 1 bunch - Parsley stems
- 2 - 1-day-old baguettes, cut into chunks
- 2 cups - Milk
- 1/4 pound - Prosciutto, cut into 1/8" dice
- 1 cup, plus 1/2 cup - Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4 - Eggs, separated, yolks beaten
- 1 bunch - Italian parsley, chopped to yield 1/4 cup
- Salt & pepper
- 2 cups fresh - Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup - Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil until smoking.
Add the chicken bones & scraps and brown all over, stirring to avoid burning. Remove the chicken parts and reserve.
Add the carrots, onions & celery and cook until soft and browned.
Return the chicken bones to the pot and add 3 quarts of water, the tomato paste, peppercorns & parsley, stirring to dislodge the browned chicken & vegetable bits from the bottom of the pan.
Bring almost to a boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook at a low simmer for 2 hours, until reduced by half, occasionally skimming excess fat.
After cooking, remove from heat and strain out all solids, pressing them with the bottom of a ladle to extract out all liquids.
Stir the stock to facilitate cooling and set aside.
In a large shallow bowl, cover the bread with the milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Squeeze the milk from the bread by hand, cut the bread into a coarse dice and place in a medium bowl.
Add the prosciutto & 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, egg yolks, parsley, salt & pepper and roll into balls the size of a quarter.
Roll each ball in the egg whites, then the breadcrumbs.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil until almost smoking.
Cook the balls until golden and remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
When they have drained, divide them evenly among six warmed soup bowls, pour the hot broth over them and serve with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled over the top.