Holy Canederli!

I actually won Chopped.

Last night I competed  on Chopped, on Food Network, and  guess what, I won.

I dreamed to be on Chopped since the time I decided to take a crazy leap, change my career, my life, and enroll at Cordon Bleu.  I should leap more often, because I enjoyed every stressful second of it. The second I walked in to the Chopped Kitchen, the second I heard Mr. Ted Allen announced my name, the second I saw judges Maneet Chauhan, Marc Murphy, Chris Santos glare at me, the second I opened my first mystery basket. Then It’s all a blur. heart pumping, adrenaline going, knives action packed hour. And I won. Thank God! because the smile on my children face when I told them I actually won, was worth every heart pounding moment.

choppedgrab

 

By the way if you had not noticed, it’s April 1st  today, and wouldn’t you know it, the pantry in the Chopped kitchen was chock full of pranks and the ingredients in the mystery baskets were in disguise;  but after enduring April Fools’ Day pranks, a mystery basket of duplicitous ingredients, and a grueling twelve hours of competition against younger, up-and-coming chefs from the hot culinary scene in Charleston, South Carolina, I think I impressed the judges with my  dessert, sweet canederli.

I LOVE CANEDERLI! Canederli are bread dumplings, a regional specialty of northeast Italy where they are served as a first course or dessert. Considered part of ‘cucina povera’, they are made of simple and inexpensive ingredients including stale bread moistened with milk or cheese bound with eggs and a small amount of flour. They are not very known here in the US. But I grew up eating them. It’s a dish that comes from the north and the mountains of Italy, like me.  They are a tasty treat, that exemplifies my love for  “chic and simple comfort” cuisine.  A style rooted in making beautiful food to share with loved ones.

The sweet Canederli I made on Chopped, are based on my very simple but elegant recipe: Balsamic Strawberry Soup and Sweet Canaderli. It’s a very easy recipe and it’s a great dessert to end a meal. I always shape the canederli in advance, but poach them at the last moment. The aroma of the cinnamon, cardamon, clove and lemon fills my kitchen, reminding me of my precious times spent back home, exploring my loved Alps and Dolomites, with my family.

strawberrycanedrli

Savory Canederli are even more popular than sweet one. Some of my favorite are the ricotta canederli and speck, and the semolina ones. Ricotta canederli are lush, soft and delicious, when drowsed in brown butter.

canedrli

The speck and semolina’s are packed with flavor, saltiness and restoratives qualities, thanks to warm, rich broth they float in.

canedrlispeak

To make Canederli, you use what you have in your pantry, stale bread from the day before, a little semolina, flour or even old mashed potatoes. They are a great way to repurpose left overs. They are not hard to make, you just have to learn to shape them, it’s like making meatballs, fun for all.

I’m posting the recipes below. I hope you try to make them, perhaps you can then imagine you are in the Dolomites, rent the 1962 original “Pink Panther”, or  Roger Moore’s “For your Eyes Only and make a movie night of it.

Me, I’m going to celebrate my victory tonight, with a big bowl of canederli and my grinning kids and husband.

Balsamic Strawberry Soup And Sweet Canederli
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4/6 45
Cook Time
15
Servings Prep Time
4/6 45
Cook Time
15
Balsamic Strawberry Soup And Sweet Canederli
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4/6 45
Cook Time
15
Servings Prep Time
4/6 45
Cook Time
15
Ingredients
For The Canederli:
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 lb fresh ricotta drained
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup stale bread cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
For the Strawberry Soup:
  • 3 pints strawberries hulled and quartered (about 6 cups
  • 1/2 cup granulates sugar
  • 4 tablespoons aged balsamic
For The Poaching Liquid:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 4 tablespoons granulates sugar
  • 1 small piece cheese-cloth and string
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. For the Strawberry soup: gently mix the strawberry, sugar and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and set aside to macerate for at least ½ an hour.
  2. For the dough: Put the ricotta into a large bowl, and stir to loosen it and break up lumps, then blend in the eggs, the vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the flour on top, and fold it in gently, add the stale bread. The dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky. Put in the refrigerator for at least half an hour. When cold, shape the dough in small balls with wet hands, or a spoon. Keep on a lined tray in the fridge until ready to cook. Toast the breadcrumbs in a pan with the butter, add cinnamon and sugar.
  3. Prepare the poaching liquid by boiling the water with the lemon juice, the zest, the sugar, and the salt. Tie all the remaining ingredients in the cloth and place in the poaching liquid. Simmer.
  4. When ready to cook, gently place the Canederli in the poaching liquid and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Roll in the toasted breadcrumbs. Serve on the strawberry soup.
Share this Recipe

 

Simple Ricotta Canederli
Print Recipe
I love ricotta canederli, I finish them in brown butter for a perfect comforting and delicate first course or a welcoming appetizer.
Servings Prep Time
4 makes 12 canederli 20
Cook Time Passive Time
10 20
Servings Prep Time
4 makes 12 canederli 20
Cook Time Passive Time
10 20
Simple Ricotta Canederli
Print Recipe
I love ricotta canederli, I finish them in brown butter for a perfect comforting and delicate first course or a welcoming appetizer.
Servings Prep Time
4 makes 12 canederli 20
Cook Time Passive Time
10 20
Servings Prep Time
4 makes 12 canederli 20
Cook Time Passive Time
10 20
Ingredients
Ricotta Canederli
  • 1 cup stale white bread cut in small pieces, crust removed
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 pound ricotta drained really well
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon unbleached flour
Finishing
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons geen onion finely chopped
Servings: makes 12 canederli
Units:
Instructions
  1. Combine the bread, the ricotta, and the butter in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the eggs one at the time, the salt and pepper and mix until a sticky but solid dough, forms. Put in a blow and add the flour by hand, with a wooden spoon. Set aside in the refrigerator to rest for at least 20 minutes. Shape the canederli in small balls using your wet hands and a spoon.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt, then simmer. When ready gently lower the canederli in to the simmering water. Cook for about 10 minutes and drain well with a slotted spoon. Place in 4 serving bowls.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the brown butter. Melt the butter in a small pan with a thick bottom. Brown the butter until it reaches a medium caramel color and you can see small brown bits floating at the bottom. Careful not to burn. It can be made in advance.
  4. Serve the ricotta canederli drenched with the brown butter, a sprinkle of parmesan and finish with the chopped green onion.
Share this Recipe

 

Speck and Semolina Canederli
Print Recipe
Speck canederli are semolina and bread dumplings. They are a perfect dish to share with loved ones on a a cold night.
Servings Prep Time
4 makes 12 canederli 15
Cook Time
12
Servings Prep Time
4 makes 12 canederli 15
Cook Time
12
Speck and Semolina Canederli
Print Recipe
Speck canederli are semolina and bread dumplings. They are a perfect dish to share with loved ones on a a cold night.
Servings Prep Time
4 makes 12 canederli 15
Cook Time
12
Servings Prep Time
4 makes 12 canederli 15
Cook Time
12
Ingredients
Speak Canederli
  • 1 cup stale bread cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup speak finely chopped
  • 1/2 small white onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
Cooking and Finishing
  • 4 cups broth beef or chicken
  • 1/2 cup green onion finely sliced, green part only
Servings: makes 12 canederli
Units:
Instructions
  1. Put a medium pan on gentle heat with the olive oil. Sauté the speck and the onion for a couple of minutes. to cook.
  2. Boil the milk with the butter, the salt and the nutmeg, then sprinkle the semolina flour and simmer for 3 minutes stirring gently.
  3. Add the bread into a large bowl, then blend in the speck, the onion mixture and the eggs, add the semolina, and the parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. The dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky. Shape the dough in small balls with wet hands, or a spoon. Keep on a lined tray in the fridge until ready to cook.
  4. When ready to serve, bring the broth to a boil, taste for seasoning and turn to a simmer. Gently lower the speck canederli in to the broth and cook for a couple of minutes. Serve warm in soup bowls with a sprinkle of green onion.
Share this Recipe

, ,

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: