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2 hours 1 hour active, plus chilling
Polpette di ricotta, or ricotta “meatballs” (named only for their round shape, not because they contain meat), hail from Calabria in southern Italy. In the humble soup known as polpette di ricotta in brodo, the “meatballs” are gently poached in hot broth, where they turn into light, tender dumplings. The mildness of the ricotta allows the savory, pleasantly funky flavor of pecorino to come to the fore. For our version, we enhance store-bought chicken broth by simmering in a few aromatic vegetables plus bone-in chicken thighs that later provide shredded meat to make the soup more substantial. The dumpling mixture needs at least an hour or up to 24 to chill and hydrate before shaping, and the formed dumplings require at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator to firm up before cooking, so plan accordingly. If convenient, the broth can be made in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days, but if making ahead, it’s best to wait to shred the chicken until just before serving.
slices (5 ounces) hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces
ounces (without rind) pecorino Romano cheese, cut into rough ½-inch chunks, plus finely grated pecorino Romano cheese, to serve
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