Canederli, also known locally as Knödel, are bread dumplings typical of the area of South Tyrol, even though similar versions are found in Austrian, German, Hungarian, Croatian and Czech cuisines. The classic Italian recipe calls for Italian Speck, which is a smoked prosciutto typical of the area and they are traditionally served in broth as a main course (or, as we say, as a primo), instead of pasta or soup. They are delicious, as the Speck is really tasty and lightly smoked… they are perfect comfort food, especially on a cold evening. This recipe is part of my series on Regional Italian dishes for the region of Trentino-Alto Adige. Enjoy!
Ingredients (for 4 people – 8 canederli):
250 gms – 8.8 oz. white crusty bread, stale and cubed into 5 mm pieces
150 gms – 5.3 oz. Italian Speck, cubed into 2-3 mm pieces
250 ml – 1 cup milk
1 tbsp onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp parlsey, chopped
30 gms – ¼ cup flour (and some breadcrumbs if required)
Salt and Pepper
8 ladles of home-made or good quality stock (better if chicken or beef)
Sauté the onion with the butter. When the onion is translucent, add the cubed Speck and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes. Set aside to cool down.
Put the cubed bread in a big bowl. Add the Speck and onion to it. Lightly whisk the eggs and add them to the bread as well. Now add the milk, parsley and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well, but gently, and let it rest for 15 or 20 minutes.
Add the flour and mix well. The mixture has to be soft enough to make balls out of it, but if they do not hold their shape, add some breadcrumbs to it. Gently make 8 balls of about 5 or 6 cm (2 inches) each: these are your canederli. Keep them aside until you are ready to cook them.
Cook the canederli in boiling salty water for 15 minutes on a low flame (the water has to simmer but not boil). When ready, remove them with a slotted spoon and place 2 canederli in each bowl. Pour a couple of ladles of stock (better if home-made) on the top and serve hot.