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Updated: Nov 28, 2023

This recipe is tipical of the Trentino region in Italy - it's been written by Zia Romana's grandmother Carolina (born in the 19th century). Almost every family in that region makes Canederli, and everybody has their own recipe. This is hers, and it's delicious, perfect for cold winter evenings. Perfect as a first course or as a light main course.

Good to know:

  • According to Zia Romana, as a first course 2-3 Canederli per person are enough, as a light main course use 4-5 Canederli per person

  • As far as I'm concerned, 1 of them is perfect as a main course for lunch (but I don't really count, as I eat less than half of what a normal person eats)


  • 100gr. breadcrumbs

  • 6-7 tablespoon of plain flour

  • 1 tablespoon of feshly chopped Italian parsley (flat leaf)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2-3 beaten eggs

  • 2 Italian sausages (not the spicy ones)

  • 40gr grated parmesan

  • 50-100gr lard or butter

  • 1 thick slice of guanciale or pancetta (this is my addition)

  • 1 bayleaf (this is my addition)

  • half a glass of good red wine

  • 800ml of concentrated beef broth (it's essential to make the broth from scratch here)

  • parmisan to serve


  • Pierce the raw sausages in multiple places with the tip of a knife

  • Cut out the skin of the guanciale or pancetta (keep it, it is a great addition to a beef broth), then cut it in cubes

  • Heat the butter, then add the cubes on a medium - high heat and stir them to let them render the fat

  • Add the sausages and the bayleaf

  • Let the sausages roast on each side but don't wait for them to cook fully, the butter and guanciale will make it quickly quite smoky

  • Add a splash of wine, stir and cover it. Reduce the heat to medium

  • Keep cooking for 10 mins, turning the sausages from time to time and adding some wine to prevent them from sticking to the bottom

  • Allow the sausages to cool

  • Beat the eggs and set aside

  • Once they're cold enough to handle, cut the sausages in rough pieces, then put them in a food processor and blizz until they're crumbled, but do not reach a paste consistency (this is my own way, whereas Nonna Carolina was saying to skin them and break them down with a fork. Personally I find it impossible to skin them, and too hard to be broken down with a fork)

  • Nonna Carolina also said to lightly wet the breadcrumbs with the milk or broth (squeezing out the liquid very well) - I skip this and add them dry (it is to be noted that in Italy you don't find fresh breadcrumbs in a supermarket like you do here, but rather you would get a loaf of bread and cut out the breadcrumbs yourself, and those indeed need to be wet)

  • Put in a bowl your breadcrumbs, the sausage meat, parmesan, parsley, pepper and add 2 of the beaten eggs

  • Mix very well - at this point, I usually find the mixture quite dry, so I add half of the third beaten egg

  • The mixture needs to be soft but not too much as you'll need to make little balls of it

  • Form biggish balls (as big as the cup of your hand) and toss them lightly in flour

  • Bring the broth to the boil and add the Canederli - let them cook for 5 minutes, then serve with the broth and sprinkle with cheese

TIP: they do freeze quite well I'm sure, but the time I tried to cook them from frozen (like I do with the gnocchi) I overcooked them and they were super tough. If I'll try again and get it right, I'll update this with the cooking time required from frozen.

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