Not sure what to do with stale bread? Try making these Italian Bread Dumplings. Serve as an appetizer, a side, or a main dish by adding pasta; you would surely ask for seconds!
Are you familiar with canederli? Yep, the bread dumplings from the Northern part of Italy that contains speck and flour.
Well, these dumplings are even simpler than those — no meat, no flour, just bread and cheese as the main ingredients.
An excellent example of ‘cucina povera’ (poor cooking), I was lucky enough to try them at Puglia.
Trust me; the result is anything but poor — soft, delicious Italian bread dumplings that you just cannot stop eating.
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- Bread – it has to be at least a day old. Fresh bread will not work for this bread dumplings recipe because they’re too soft and not dry enough.
- Eggs – medium-sized (63 to 73 grams per piece).
- Parsley – the flat-leaf kind and chopped roughly.
- Pecorino Romano – freshly grated or pre-grated will work.
- Olive oil – mild, extra virgin olive oil will be excellent.
- Garlic – finely sliced or minced; you only need it for the sauce, not the dumplings.
- Crushed tomatoes – canned ones are perfect for making the sauce.
- Salt, pepper, and peperoncino – just use your favorite brand to season.
Start making your bread dumplings by preparing the bread: get rid of the crusty, tough portion and dice the white part of the bread (photo 1).
Note that the smaller you slice the bread, the easier it is to form a bread dumpling dough.
Add the beaten eggs, parsley, pecorino Romano, salt, pepper, and olive oil (photo 2).
Mix to combine evenly — until it forms a dough.
Use a teaspoon to take a portion of bread dumpling dough (photo 3).
Use the palm of your hands to roll it and turn it into a ball (photo 4).
Repeat the process until you finish the dough.
This bread dumplings recipe usually makes twenty to twenty-two bread balls (photo 5).
Place a deep skillet or pan over medium heat to start with the sauce.
Add the remaining olive oil.
Once the oil is ready, add the minced garlic (photo 6).
Cook until it becomes fragrant.
Pour the crushed tomatoes and mix.
Season with salt, pepper, and peperoncino (photo 7).
Stir to combine.
Add the Italian bread dumplings to the sauce (photo 8).
Mix to coat the bread balls, then cover the pan with a lid (photo 9).
Simmer for at least an hour, frequently stirring to ensure nothing sticks at the bottom.
Transfer into serving bowls, and garnish with grated Pecorino Romano and fresh parsley.
Your Italian bread dumplings are now ready —- enjoy!
- If you don’t have a serrated knife, use your hands to tear the bread into small bits.
- Do not pour two and a half tablespoons of olive oil at once. Instead, start with half the amount, mix, and check the texture, then add slowly if the bread dumpling dough is too dry.
- It’s perfectly fine to use your hands to mix all the ingredients instead of a spatula or wooden spoon.
- When you start simmering the sauce, make sure you adjust the heat to the lowest and remember to stir often, coating the bread balls with sauce.
- Passata. You can replace a portion of crushed tomatoes with passata.
Just leave the pan uncovered for the last few minutes if you feel that it’s too watery towards the end of cooking.
- Herbs. Fresh or dried herbs can be added to the sauce; parsley and basil are the most common.
It’s so easy, right? Give these Italian bread dumplings a try this weekend — you will not regret it! 🙂
Italian Bread Dumplings Recipe
- Medium-sized pan with a lid
- 250 grams old bread (8.80 ounces or about 5 cups when diced)
- 2 medium eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, heaping, grated
- 1/3 cup parsley, roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided into 2 & 1/2 and 1 & 1/2 tablespoons)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 & 1/2 to 3 cups crushed tomatoes
- salt, pepper & peperoncino, to season
- Start preparing the bread: remove the hard, crusty portions and dice the white part of the bread. (Note that the smaller you chop the bread, the easier it is to form a bread dumpling dough.)
- Add the eggs, parsley, pecorino Romano, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Mix to combine evenly — until it forms a dough.
- Use a teaspoon to take a portion of bread dumpling dough.
- Roll it between your palms to form it into a ball. Repeat until you finish the dough.
- Start with the sauce by placing a deep pan or skillet over medium heat.
- Heat the remaining olive oil.
- Add the minced garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant.
- Pour the crushed tomatoes, then season with salt, pepper, and peperoncino.
- Stir to combine, then add the bread dumplings.
- Mix to coat the bread balls with the sauce, then cover with a lid.
- Simmer for at least an hour, frequently stirring to ensure that nothing sticks at the bottom.
- Transfer into serving bowls, and garnish with fresh parsley and grated Pecorino Romano.
- Your Italian bread dumplings are now ready —- enjoy!
- Cook’s Tip #1: Use your hands to break down the old bread into small bits if you don’t have a serrated knife.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Remember not to pour two and a half tablespoons of olive oil at once. Start with half of the amount, mix, and check the texture, then add slowly if the bread dumpling dough is too dry.
- Cook’s Tip #3: If it’s easier for you, use your hands to mix all the ingredients instead of a spatula or wooden spoon.
- Cook’s Tip #4: When simmering the sauce, make sure you adjust the heat to the lowest and remember to stir often, coating the bread balls with sauce.
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