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Apulian bowlers

Bowler hats

Among the typical Apulian recipes it is impossible not to mention the bombette from the Itria valley, a sort of rich pork roll with bacon and caciocavallo.

Bombette are a typical second course of the Puglia region, in particular of the Martina Franca area. They owe their name to the explosion of flavors in your mouth at the first bite, given by the presence in the same recipe of a very tasty cut of meat, the capocollo (also known as coppa or loin), pancetta and caciocavallo podolico.

This sort of rolls should traditionally be cooked on the grill but we will show you how to prepare them in the oven, creating a quick and easy second course of meat , rich in flavour. Excellent to serve with a side dish based on turnip greens or broad beans and chicory , the Apulian bombette will win you over at the first taste!

Apulian bombette to cook
Apulian bombette to cook

How to prepare the Apulian bombette recipe

  1. First, beat the slices of meat with a meat mallet to make them thin and tender.
  2. Season them with a pinch of salt and pepper and cover each of them with a slice of bacon and a few cubes of semi-mature caciocavallo.
  3. Chop approximately a sprig of fresh parsley and a cored clove of garlic, then add this aromatic mix as a filling together with the cheese.
  4. Fold the external broths inwards, then roll up from bottom to top, making sure to seal the filling well, so that it comes out during cooking.
  5. Secure the closure with toothpicks and place the bombettes in a baking dish suitable for baking in the oven, sprinkled with a drizzle of oil.
  6. Cook the Apulian rolls at 200°C for 15-20 minutes , then turn on the grill for a further 5 minutes to make them crispy.
  7. Serve the Apulian bombette piping hot, with the stringy centre.

The bombettes are truly delicious and you can take inspiration from this recipe to create other versions, perhaps with chicken meat, lighter and perfect for little ones too!

How to cook Apulian bombette: cooking variations

This typical second course of meat is, as explained previously, mainly cooked in the oven, however there are other equally effective cooking methods.

Pan-fried Apulian bombette
Pan-fried Apulian bombette

In the pan . To prepare them, heat a pan on the heat with a drizzle of oil, then add the bombettes and cook them on one side for about 10 minutes, then turn them over and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes.

Grilled Apulian bombettes
Grilled Apulian bombettes

Grilled . In this case, skewer the rolls on a long stick (3-4 per stick can be fine, depending on its length), then cook them away from the heat source for 15-20 minutes.

Apulian bombette with sauce
Apulian bombette with sauce

With sauce . In this case, brown the rolls in a pan with oil until golden on all sides, then add the sauce and cook.


These bombettes can be kept for about 2-3 days in the refrigerator , inside a container with an airtight lid. If necessary, simply heat them in the oven or in a pan for a few minutes. We do not recommend freezing in the freezer.

History and origins of the typical Apulian dish

The Apulian bombettes seem to dispute their origins between Cisternino and Martina Franca : the former has made this dish its symbol, the latter seems to be the true homeland of these succulent rolls.

Some rumors date their creation around 1980 , right in Martina Franca: a lady prepared them for the first time in her butcher's shop, using horse meat. Subsequently the raw material became capocollo, considered more tender, and still today they are served in Puglia in "fornelli", typical butchers with kitchens.

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