This recipe is by home cook Olga for the book, Pasta Grannies, edited by Vicky Bennison.
The town of Selva in the Dolomites is known for its hearty dishes, like canederli – bread dumplings – with each household having its own take. Olga, the Pasta Granny behind this dish, serves hers with goulash or a green salad, melted butter and shower of parmesan cheese.
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or butter, plus extra to serve
- ½ small onion, finely minced
- 50 g (2 oz) speck, diced into small pieces
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) stale white bread, cubed
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 200-250 ml (7–8½ fl oz) milk
- 1 heaped tbsp 00 flour or plain (all-purpose) flour
- 10 g (½ oz) chives, minced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan and saute the onion over a low heat. When it is translucent, add the speck and saute for 1 more minute, to warm it through but not to cook it; speck turns hard if you cook it, and you want it to remain soft. Remove the pan from heat.
2. Take a large bowl and add the bread, eggs, 200 ml (7 fl oz) milk then stir. Once combined, add the speck and oil, followed by the flour, a pinch of salt and the chives. Continue to stir the mixture until the ingredients bind together. If the bread feels too dry, add some or all of the remaining milk. Let the mixture rest for about 15 minutes so the bread fully absorbs all the wet ingredients.
3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. It should be deep enough to cover the canederli by three-quarters.
4. When the canederli is ready, have a bowl of water to one side. Wet your hands and scoop out a small handful of the mixture. Press it hard to make sure it binds together, then roll it between your palms in a circular motion and shape into a neat little ball. It should be the size of a clementine or small orange. Place it on a plate and repeat until all the mixture is used up.
5. Cook your canederli in batches. Lower them in the hot water and simmer for 10 minutes. You may need to turn the heat down a little, so the boil isn't too rapid.
6. Keep them warm in a low oven while you cook the others. To serve, drizzle over some melted butter and eat straight away.
Recipe from Pasta Grannies by Vicky Bennison (Hardie Grant, RRP $39.99)