“Cace e Ove” or Cacio e Uova is a very popular dish all over the province of Chieti. As often is the case with Abruzzo cuisine, it’s a dish that was created using leftovers and low-cost ingredients. In the past meat was really hard to come by because it was so expensive, so instead of making meatballs, the sharp housewives in the province of Chieti made “meatballs” without the meat, using cacio (common cheese), uova (eggs) and old bread, and cooked them in a fresh tomato sauce.
Ingredients for 4
- 250g of grated hard cheese (pecorino or parmigiano or a mixture of the two)
- 200g of old bread (white part only) broken into bits
- a handful of parsley finely chopped
- 1 clove crushed garlic (optional)
- 5- 6 eggs
- 750g crushed tomatoes
- 100g olive oil
- 1 green pepper cut into thin strips
- 1 onion sliced and cut up roughly
In a large sauté pan, prepare the tomato sauce by sautéing the green pepper and onion in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt (don’t overdo it, as the cheeses in the dumplings are salty). Let this sauce simmer for 30 minutes, or until the oil rises to the top.
Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings. Mix the beaten eggs (start with 5 and add another egg if too thick) with the cheese, bread, garlic (optional) and parsley. Create little balls, the shape of small eggs, dipping your hands in water to avoid them sticking to the mixture.
Add 1 cup of water to the sauce and bring it to a nice simmering boil. Arrange the dumplings in one layer in the tomato sauce, and allow to simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes, turning carefully once. If the sauce begins to dry up too much, add a little more water. It is finished when the dumplings are spongy. Basil may also be added for additional flavour.
Another option is to fry the dumplings in olive oil until just lightly golden and serve them accompanied with the sauce.