Canederli are the bastard lovechild of Austro-German and Italian cuisine (also known as knödel), and one of many ways to comfort-eat your way through any already broken New Year's resolutions. The key ingredient here is stale bread, so that loaf you left in your dorm over winter break can finally be put to use. Feel free to pick and choose any cheeses for this recipe — these are just some of my personal favourites.

The dumplings are normally boiled and served in broth, otherwise they can be baked and eaten as a main with salad and a simple tomato sauce (or even as a snack on their own). While 00 flour can be found pretty easily in the UK (sometimes also under the name 'pasta flour'), it can be replaced by strong bread flour or plain/all-purpose flour if need be.

If you can't get your hands on stale bread, you can simply use normal in-date bread. Dice it up, lay it on a baking tray, and bake it at a very very low heat (like 50ºC) for around 15 minutes, or leave it out overnight. It should be dry but NOT browned, so it'll soak up the liquids much better.

3-Cheese and Olive Canederli

  • Prep Time:50 mins
  • Cook Time:15 mins
  • Total Time:1 hr 5 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Easy


  • 200 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 250g bread preferably stale cut into chunks
  • 15g butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 150g mozzarella
  • 80g gruyère
  • 50g pecorino
  • 15g green olives
  • 50g type 00 flour
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 2 litres vegetable broth
  • 1/2 large carrot for serving
  • 1 pinch chopped chive for serving
parsley, chicken, dumpling, broth, meat, soup, vegetable
Matt Volpe
  • Step 1

    First off, beat the eggs, milk, and pepper together and pour the mixture into a large bowl. Throw in the bread chunks, give them a stir to ensure all the pieces are coated, and then allow them to sit for about half an hour while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

    dairy product, coffee, milk, cream
    Domenic Volpe
  • Step 2

    Dice your mozzarella into tiny chunks, grate your pecorino and gruyère with a fine grater, and set them aside in a bowl for later.

    salt, risotto, rice, milk
    Domenic Volpe
  • Step 3

    Cut your olives into small pieces (I went for eighths), and add them to the bowl with your cheese.

    herb, courgette, vegetable
    Domenic Volpe
  • Step 4

    While you heat your butter in a small frying pan on a low heat, dice your onion, then add to the pan to fry off for around 6 or 7 minutes. When translucent, soft, and beginning to turn golden take them off the heat and set aside.

    saute, vegetable
    Matt Volpe
  • Step 5

    After your bread has soaked for 30 minutes, add your cheeses, olives, onions, herbs, and flour to the bowl and mix to combine. This should all bind together nicely to form a mixture that looks almost like wet uncooked stuffing. Allow this to sit for a further 20 minutes before you get started with the actual cooking of these cheesey masterpieces.

    vegetable, rice
    Matt Volpe
  • Step 6

    If you want to serve these in a broth, simmer your broth in a large(ish) saucepan. While it's heating up, roll your canederli into balls with floured hands (bear in mind that any flour left on the balls will cloud the broth, so try and use as little as possible) to around 6 or 7cm in diameter—just under the size of a tennis ball. Boil them for around 15 minutes with the chopped carrot, then serve immediately in the broth with a pinch of cut chives for decoration.

    chicken, parsley, dairy product, soup, vegetable, egg
    Matt Volpe
  • Step 7

    If you're opting to bake them, roll them into smaller balls of about 4 to 5cm and place them on a lined baking tray. Brush them with some olive oil for a crispy golden finish, and bake them for 30-40 minutes at 180ºC/360ºF or until golden brown.

    cheese, meat, dough, sweet, pastry
    Matt Volpe