Since we find ourselves on a summer break in the spectacular north eastern part of Italy - Trentino Alto Adige - we thought we would bring you a local recipe that is eaten all year round but is particularly hearty and delicious in the fall and winter season.
This months dish comes from the top of Alpe di Siusi (a UNESCO world heritage site) where there is a lovely hotel / refuge perched 2050 meters up on the Sasso Piatto ridge.
It is run by the Zallinger family and is a great spot to stop for a meal after a walk, hike or ski; or better yet, stay for a week of total tranquility.
Thank you Markus and Luisa for sharing your family's recipe!
SERVINGS : 12
PREP : 30 minutes
LEVEL : Easy
300g stale bread cut into small cubes
1/4 litre (1 cup) whole milk
400g fresh or frozen spinach
1 clove of garlic
1 small yellow onion
Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
Parmigiano and butter to finish the dish
In a pan sauté the finely minced onion in butter until fully cooked but not caramelized. Set aside and in the same pan sauté the spinach in butter until cooked. Let cool and chop fine or mince or if you prefer it can be puréed.
In a small bowl, combine and mix the milk and eggs and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, combine your bread cubes, spinach and onions and pour the liquid mix over it all. Start vigorously mixing the ingredients together using your hands. Make sure that your mixture comes together in a paste like consistency. (If you feel it is not sticking together enough, you can add 2 teaspoons of plain flour and 2 teaspoons of bread crumbs to help it all bind.) Let the mixture rest for about 15 minutes while you clean your workspace.
The resulting dough should be soft but solid and easily form large apricot size balls that don't break apart.
To form Canederli, it is advisable to have a small bowl of cold water in which you can dip your hands so that when you roll the ball of dough in your palms they won't stick to your fingers. Take two large tablespoons or a good palm full of dough and with wet hands compact and roll into perfect balls.
Set aside on a plate. You can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for later use or cook immediately.
To cook your canederli, fill a small pot with enough water to just cover the balls, salt generously and bring to a boil.
Place the canderli a few at a time - no overcrowding please! - and cook for 10 minutes.
Once cooked you can place them in a serving dish and keep warm in the oven at 50 celcius or 120 fahrenheit.
To serve melt and brown a generous amount of butter and pour over the canederli. Make sure you have some grated parmigiano reggiano to sprinkle over the top.
Typically these are plated on a bed of shredded light green spring cabbage dressed with vinegar, salt and caraway seeds plus a couple of wedges of fresh tomato.
Alternatively, one can also serve a non spinach version of canederli in a bowl of broth with a sprinkling of chives on top.