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Canederli alla Tirolese

Dumplings with Speck

Canederli (pronounced kah-neh-dair-lee) are one of the most famous regional dishes of Trentino-Alto Adige.  Due to Alto Adige being part of the Austro-Hungarian Emprire until WWI, it's no wonder they have many Austrian influences in their cuisine. The word "canederlo", in fact, derives from the German and Austrian 'knödel' (dumpling).  Canederli are bread dumplings and they are found in the northeast of Italy, particularly Trentino-Alto Adige, but also they can be found in Friuli and Veneto where they are served as a first course or as a main dish.  Variations of this dish are common in all southeastern Europe, where they are served as an accompaniment to meat stews and roasts.  Canederli can be considered part of what's called in Italian "cucina povera" (cuisine of the poor) because they are made of simple and inexpensive ingredients: stale bread moistened with milk and bound with eggs and a small amount of flour.  However, in Trentino-Alto Adige the mixture is often enriched with cheese and Speck (a kind of cured, smoked ham- like prosciutto) that is famously produced in Alto Adige.  The smokiness and saltiness of the speck makes the perfect pairing with the Nosiola!

Total time: 2 hours

Prep time:  1 hour & 45 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Serves 2-4


What you'll need:

  • 4 cups cubed steal bread

  • 1/4 of a white onion

  • 250 ml of milk

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 bunch of parsley

  • 1 bunch of chives 

  • 4 thicker slices of Speck (bacon thickness)

  • 2 eggs

  • 3/4 tbsp butter

  • Chicken or vegetable broth




Make the canederli:


1.  Chop the onion and set aside.  Then cut the Speck into small pieces and set aside.


2.  Melt the butter in a pan at medium heat.  Add the onion and Speck.  Cook for ~5 mins, stirring often, until onions are golden.  Then remove from heat.


3.  Cut the steal bread in cubes.  Chop finely the chives and parsley together. 


4.  Chop finely the chives and parsley together. 


5.  In a large bowl add the cubed steal bread, milk, eggs, and parsley & chives.  Using your hands, mix togethe


6.  Add the Speck and onions you just cooked and mix together with your hands.  If it seems to wet you can add a dash of flour to help hold together.


7.  When it's all a homogeneous mixture you can start to make the canederli.  Wet your hand with some cold water and start forming the balls.  The size should be a 5 cm diameter (**Make sure to not make any bigger or they could break apart while cooking).  Set aside on plate and continue until all balls are formed.  We recommend letting sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes to set before cooking.  You'll notice they harden slightly and hold together better.


For the cooking:

1.  Heat up the broth in a large pot until boiling.  Then add the Canederli and cook for 15 mins.


2.  Serve in a soup bowl and enjoy with a bottle of Nosiola!

Buon appetito! 

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