Strangolapreti in Trentino – Italian bread and spinach dumplings

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These hearty spinach dumplings originate from Trentino-Alto Adige; a cold, mountainous region of northern Italy. Made from stale bread, they are a great and tasty way to use up leftover loaves. Best enjoyed with nutty brown butter and sage, or floating in a hot bowl of delicious homemade chicken broth.

First published in 2019




  • 500g of spinach
  • 200g of stale bread, blitzed into breadcrumbs
  • 180ml of whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80g of plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g of Grana Padano, grated
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 50g of butter
  • semolina flour, for dusting

To serve


Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl with the milk, mix well and leave to soak
Place a large frying pan over a high heat and add the spinach with just a sprinkle of water. Cover with a lid for a couple of minutes whilst it wilts. Use kitchen tongs to stir the spinach until all the leaves are wilted. Squeeze the spinach with the tongs to release excess liquid, then place in a sieve to drain and cool
Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out any more liquid and finely chop
By now, the bread should have absorbed most of the milk. Place the bread in a bowl with the spinach, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well
Add the flour bit by bit until the mixture starts to dry up and forms a dough – the less flour you use, the lighter and airier the dumplings will be. The mixture should be just stiff enough to roll into the dumpling shapes
It is a good idea to cook a tester dumpling at this stage to check if the flour quantity is correct. Simply dollop a spoonful of the mixture into salted boiling water– it should float to the top after a minute. If the dumpling falls apart, add a little more flour. Taste and check the seasoning, too
Use your hands to roll the mixture into little cylinder-shaped dumplings. If the mixture is very sticky, grease your hands a little with vegetable oil which should make things easier. Place the dumplings on a tray sprinkled with semolina flour to stop them from sticking
Cook the dumplings in salted boiling water in batches as to not overcrowd the pan. They're cooked once they rise to the surface
As the dumplings are boiling away, add the butter to a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the sage leaves and continue to cook until the sage starts to crisp up and the butter turns a nutty brown
Once the dumplings have floated to the top, drain and add to the flavoured butter. Toss to evenly coat then serve up warm, with extra grated Grana Padano if desired

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