Today I propose you a typical Passover recipe from Jewish community of Rome. These delicious meatballs are often eaten by firstborn sons after prayers on Passover Eve. Thanks to their particular lightness, it is said that „they do not break the fast”, so there’s no sin in eating them during the fasting period. This dish contains celery and matzah, two distinctive products of the Pesach Seder: the first symbolizes spring and liberation, the second, yeast-free, sacrifice and absolute devotion.


Servings: 4 people

Preparation time: ab. 1 h


400 g of ground chicken breast

1 egg 

2 celery stalks 

100 g of matzah (or stale bread)

1 carrot 

1 glass of olive oil 

1 tablespoon of tomato paste 

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon of black pepper powder 

2 teaspoons of salt 

250 g of canned tomatoes 

1 white onion 

2 cloves of garlic


  1. Put all the ingredients you need on a work table.
  1. Soak the matzah (or stale bread) in water for 20 min.

  1. Peel the celery stalks and cut them lengthwise into strips.
  1. Blanch the celery stalks: make them boil for one minute in salted water, drain them and immerse them immediately in ice water. Drain and dry.

  1. Pour the oil in a pan and fry the whole garlic cloves and the chopped onion. Remove the garlic as soon as it browns. Add the celery stalks and tomato paste.
  1. Add the chopped carrot, a teaspoon of cinnamon, the canned tomatoes with their sauce, a teaspoon of salt, a ladle of hot water. Cook over at low heat until it reduces.

  1. In the meantime, combine in a bowl the chicken, the squeezed matzah, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix well, cover with cellophane and put in the fridge to solidify for at least half an hour.
  1. After half an hour, take a spoonful of chicken and with your wet hands give it an oval shape.

  1. Put the meatballs into the sauce, cover with the lid. After 5 minutes pour two ladles of boiling water and cover with a lid leaving a vent. Cook for 30 minutes until the sauce reduces.
  1. Serve the meatballs in their hot sauce. If you want you can garnish with fried basil and bleached celery as I did. Try them also the next day, they are even tastier!

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