Cuisine of the 20 Regions of Italy

Considering its close proximity to Austria and Switzerland, Trentino is best known for its strudel and dumplings.

Canederli di Ricotta (Sweet Ricotta Dumplings)
Note: you can make the dumplings with a savory sauce also, not just sweet.

Ingredients Preparation
For the Canederli:

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta, drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

For the Sauce

  • 3 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 6 cups)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed


Dump the ricotta into a large bowl, and stir to loosen it and break up lumps, then blend in the eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle all the flour on top and fold it in gently. The dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky.

Adjust the heat so the cooking water is bubbling gently. Fill a glass or jar with cold water to moisten the scoop, so the dough doesn’t stick. Dip the ice-cream scoop into the water glass, scoop up a round of dough, level it off and dispense the dumpling into the cooking pot. Scoop up all the dough in the same way, and get the dumplings cooked as quickly as possible. If you don’t have an ice-cream scoop, use a 1/4-cup measure. Empty each portion into your hand (both hands must be lightly floured!), and quickly roll it into a ball, then drop the dumpling into the pot.

As you form the canederli, keep the scoop moistened and the water at a gentle simmer: don’t let it boil vigorously, which can break apart the canederli.

After all are in the pot, let the dumplings cook, without stirring, until all have risen to the surface of the water. Simmer them another 5 min, then scoop one out and test it for doneness. First, press it gently: it should feel solid and spring back to the touch. If it feels soft at the center, return it to the pot and cook the batch a minute or two longer. Scoop out another dumpling, and cut into it to check that the center is not wet and oozing and that the dough looks uniformly cooked through.

Meanwhile, have the big skillet with melted butter warming over very low heat. Lift out the cooked dumplings with a spider, let them drain over the pot for a few seconds, then gently drop them in the skillet. Roll the dumplings gently so they’re coated all over with butter, then turn off the heat and leave them in the warm pan for a few minutes to firm up.

Put strawberries in the saucepan, pour in the sugar and lemon juice and toss together. Set the pan over medium-low heat; stir occasionally as it gradually starts to bubble. Adjust the heat to keep the juice simmering, and cook for about 8 min until the berries are soft and the juice is slightly syrupy. Turn off the heat and cover the pot.

Meanwhile, fill a big pot with about 6 quarts water, add 1 tablespoon salt and heat it to a boil. Put the butter in a skillet and melt it over very low heat; turn off the flame, but leave the skillet on the warm burner.

Serve the canederli on warm dessert plates, spooning a pool of strawberry sauce in the center of each plate and setting two or three canederli on top. For family-style serving, arrange the canederli in a large, rimmed platter and drizzle some of the strawberry sauce around them in a colorful border. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.

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