- 1 large bunch celery
- Salt, to taste
- 1 slice stale bread, soaked in milk and squeezed dry
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 2 tablespoons
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- Olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
Separate the celery stalks and remove the stringy fibers. Cut the ribs in to 36 (2 1/2-inch) pieces. Place in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt. Add water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook, covered 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Place the soaked bread and meat in a bowl. Add 1 egg, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Mix well to combine. Divide into 18 small balls.
Place 1 small ball between 2 pieces of celery and press so that they hold together. Roll in 1/2-cup flour and lay on a sheet tray. Continue until all ingredients have been used.
Beat the remaining eggs with a pinch of salt. Heat 1/2-cup oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet, dip the stuffed celery in the beaten egg and then into the other 1/2-cup flour. Fry in the oil until golden on all sides. Place in a large skillet in a single layer. Add the garlic, tomatoes, 3 tablespoons oil, remaining parsley, and small amounts of salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes.