Bombetta Pugliese, or simply, bombetta, are little meat rolls that are stuffed with everyone’s favourite foods – melted cheese and pancetta. An irresistible combination of flavours, these little rolls are simplicity at its best. The bombette recipe combines a few simple ingredients and requires very little preparation. Your next outdoor barbecue needs bombetta Pugliese, so get those grills going and impress your neighbours and friends!
- 12 fillets pork shoulder
- 12 slices pancetta
- 150g caciocavallo cheese, thinly sliced
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
As the name suggests, bombetta Pugliese comes from the region of Puglia in the Italian peninsula. lts origin traces back to the 1960s, where butchers in the city of Itria Valley started selling cooked meats directly in their stores. Served with a glass of local red wine, it was the perfect little snack before heading home to cook dinner. The popularity of bombetta pugliese soon spread to other towns such as Martina, Franca, Alberobello and Cisternino.
Bombettas are never larger than 3-5cm long, perfectly bite-size, and sold either in small paper cones or on a slice of local bread. They are ever-present at street food fairs in Puglia, the smell of grilled meat taking over the entire streets – it’s no secret that bombetta is a proud representative of Puglia’s street food culture.
Bombettas can be made using five ingredients (if you don’t count salt and pepper). So, first things first, make sure that you get the best quality pork neck fillets that you can find. Next, you’ll need Pancetta and caciocavallo, but if you can’t find these you can use thinly sliced bacon or semi-hard cheese.
The Bombettas can then be cooked using a hot grill or oven – it’s up to you.
1. Cover a fillet with a piece of parchment paper and pound the meat using a meat mallet. Repeat for all fillets. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Lay out a fillet and place a slice of pancetta followed by several slices of cheese to cover. Sprinkle with parsley and a small pinch of garlic.
3. Starting from the shorter side of the fillet, roll it tightly onto itself making sure to keep the other ingredients enclosed within the meat. Pierce a couple of toothpicks into the centre and ends to keep the roll in place. Repeat for the rest.
4. At this point you can either cook over a hot grill or alternatively, in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for around 30 minutes until browned. Serve the bombettas warm!
Bombetta literally means “little bomb”, just like how these rather innocent looking stuffed meat rolls will explode in your mouth with the flavours of melted cheese and salty cured ham!
And here’s a tip for your next trip to Puglia: head over to the cities of Martina Franca or Cisternino and dine like the locals at the typical butcher-restaurants. Here you will get the chance to pick your meat and watch it being cooked on the hot grill. It’s a must-try experience for any foodie.