Italian Regional Recipes Secondi Piatti: Meat, Fish, Eggs, Cheese

Pallotte Cacio e Ova – Cheese and Egg Balls in Tomato Sauce

Pallotte Cacio e Ova, literally means “small balls with cheese and eggs”, are balls made of cheese and eggs and stale bread, then fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. Few ingredients, lots of taste. They are usually made in rather large sizes, but are now also prepared in finger food format, especially if they are then cooked in the traditional tomato and basil sauce.

The traditional cheese used is Rigantino sheep’s cheese, but classic Pecorino cheese works just as well. Parmigiano is a good alternative too.

This dish was born in the small mountain villages of Abruzzo, a region of Central Italy, where the shepherds used to spend winter; part of a poor cuisine that aimed to make the most of what little food was available. They are made in Molise region too.

Makes: about 10 pallotte | Preparation time: 40 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins

  • Pecorino, grated: 200 g
  • Stale Bread: 50-60 g
  • Tomato sauce: 400 ml
  • Eggs: 2 to 3
  • Onion: 1
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): 2 tbsp
  • Milk: as needed
  • Breadcrumbs: as needed
  • Parsley, fresh: a sprig
  • Salt and Black Pepper: to taste
  • Peanut oil, for deep-frying, 500-600 ml


Roughly cut the stale bread into chunks, put it in a bowl. Pour milk over the bread and let it soak for at least 20 mins.

Beat up the eggs in a bowl. Mince parsley, add it to the eggs with grated Pecorino.

Take the soaked bread chunks, squeeze them thoroughly to get rid of the milk before adding them to the eggs.

Mix the ingredients until the texture is homogeneous and smooth.

Tip: the mix should be compact but not too dry and the result is delicious.if the dough is too dry, add another egg, otherwise if too liquid, add more Pecorino or some bread.

Leave it to rest for about 30 mins.

Wet your fingertips and start rolling the cheese-egg balls.

Heat up the peanut oil in a deep pan, as soon as the oil is ready proceed to deep frying a few pallotte 3 or 4 at a time.

Drain them on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

Finely dice the onion.

Heat 2 tbsp of EVOO, brown the onion for few mins. Add the tomato sauce, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook the sauce for about 10 mins.

Add pallotte in the pan with the tomato sauce, leave them to cook on medium heat for 5 mins, stirring occasionally.

Serve warm.

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