Canederli with Speck
Canederli are the Trentino’s version of gnocchi. They are cousins to the Austrian and German knodel and are unique bread based dumplings served in soup or with melted butter and grated cheese. They are a typical traditional dish of the Alto Adige. Their origin is part of country cooking when bread, not even a scrap of stale bread, was ever wasted. Instead it was combined with other simple ingredients: some herbs, leftover cheese, milk, scraps of meat and transformed into canederli. Today some are even mixed with fruit and served as dessert. The success of this dish will depend on the quality if the bread. Spongy store bought bread is not recommended.
- 12 slices day old bread, diced with crust
- 2/3 cup warm whole milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Grinding black pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup grated cheese (Vezzena or Malga, both cow’s milk cheese from the region) but, if not available, use Asiago or Ementaler)
- 2 tablespoons King Arthur all-purpose flour
- 1/8 pound speck, diced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 8 cups beef broth
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese for sprinkling on top
- Place bread diced in a bowl and add the milk. Mix well and allow the bread to “soak” in the milk for 30 minutes. Allow the bread to absorb all the milk; it should be soft, not mushy. Stir in the eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, nutmeg, cheese and flour. Set aside.
- Cook the speck with the onion in the butter until onions are soft and speck is beginning to brown; allow to cool. Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Let rest covered for 30 minutes.
- Have a bowl of water handy to wet your hands. Test the dough to make sure you have a mixture that will hold together when boiled. Roll a small amount of the dough into a ball and drop it into the boiling broth; if it disintegrates, add a tablespoon or more of flour and test again. If the dough does not disintegrate, form 8 – 12 golf ball size canederli. Add them to the boiling broth; reduce the heat to simmer and cook them for about 3 - 5 minutes, or until they bob to the top.
- Ladle two of the canederli into each of 4 soup bowls and top with the broth. Serve hot. Add a sprinkling of cheese over the top if desired.
- Another way to serve them is without the broth, just with melted butter and fresh sage leaves.
- Note: The canederli dough can also be mixed with fresh herbs or cooked spinach.
This recipe was featured on Season 27 - Episode 2705.