Canederli: Traditional Bread Dumplings from North-East of Italy – by Mariella

Canederli are bread dumplings found only in the mountain ranges of the North-East of Italy (Trentino-Alto Adige, FriuliVenezia Giulia, and part of Veneto), where they are served as a first course or as a main entree. Originally they were made with just leftovers: different kind of salami or cheese. For this reason, the Canederli can be considered part of a ‘Cucina povera’. Today, they are still made of simple and inexpensive ingredients: stale bread moistened with milk and enriched with cheese and Speck (a kind of smoked prosciutto also typical of the north-east regions), or made with vegetables. As there are several variations of this regional dish, the following recipe describes how to prepare the Canederli with yellow beets. Thanks to the cooking lover Mariella of adocchio – blog, for sharing with us his family recipe. Would you like to know more about our friend Mariella? Take a look below!

🍷 Francesca & Marinella🍴

INGREDIENTS for 6 servings
Ready in 40 – 45 min – Preparation: 30 min Cooking Time: 10- 15 min

  • 300 gr stale bread, diced ( which can be obtained by dicing 500 gr of fresh bread and laying it on a tray for 2 days, covered with a towel. Very important is that the bread is fully dried out and crunchy. Alternatively you can buy ready-made bread for dumplings).
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 250 g milk
  • 500 g yellow beets, boiled and peeled
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 gr cheese, type gouda mild
  • 1 tbsp gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • salt, pepper

For the Seasoning

  • Butter
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Some sage leaves

METHOD

Cut the onion and cook with 1/2 glass of water and 1/2 glass of white wine until tender (30-40 minutes) . Let it cool down.

Put the stale bread into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, as well as salt and pepper.

Mix well and let it rest for some minutes. Reduce the beetroot in a purée. Cut the cheese into small cubes.

Add the beets’ purée and the onion into the bread and mix well with your hands. Add cheese cubes and the eggs. Combine all the ingredients. if the mixture is too sticky add a bit of flour.

Place some flour in a plate.  

Using your hands form the canederli by pressing together enough of the mix to make balls the size of a small orange (60 to 80 grams each). You should be able to produce 14-16 balls out of the entire mix.

Roll each ball into the flour to seal the outside and prevent the canederli from sticking to each other.

Bring some water or vegetable stock to a boil in a large pot. 

Place the canederli gently in the pot, and wait until the boil is resumed. 

Boil the canederli for 12-15 minutes (they will be floating the whole time), and then drain them gently.

In a pan melt the butter with some sage leaves.

Place 2-3 canederli in each plate, add some fresh grated Parmigiano and pour the melted butter.

Buon Appetito!

  • Hi Mariella. Do you want to introduce yourself, telling us where you are originally from and where you live at the moment?

Hi everyone, my name is Mariella, I’m Italian raised in Cortina d´Ampezzo, in the north-east of Italy. I lived there with my family until I left to college; from that moment I lived around the world for work even if I return home whenever possible. At the moment I live in Denmark, in the beautiful city of Copenhagen.

  • Talking about food, what’s your favorite Italian recipe which you use to prepare often and easily?

I love risotto, plain, with vegetables, with saffron, anyway.

  • What product from Italy do you miss the most?

Probably the fresh products as vegetables and fruit… In Italy there are many very very good different kinds.

  • What do you miss of Italian culture and traditions?

Italian people are very lively, very cheerful and even noisy. 

  • Which place in Italy do you love particularly and you would suggest for our followers to visit?

I really love my mountains, the Dolomites, beautiful in summer and in winter with the snow and the possibility of skiing. All the area around Cortina is amazing, San Vito di Cadore, Pieve di Cadore, the homeland of the great Tiziano Vecellio where you can still visit the house were he was born and see some original paintings. And all the peaks, pink in the sunset, dotted with alpine lakes and boundless meadows and woods…beautiful. You can see the area also in television in occasion of the 2026 Winter Olympics.

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