Strangolapreti. This curious name gives rise to quite a few questions. It seems to be linked to a legend.
How does the recipe of these delicious and big green dumplings prepared with fresh spinach, milk, stale bread and eggs come about?
It seems that the recipe was already known in the fifteenth century when these few genuine ingredients were used for the first time to prepare bread dumplings served with melted butter, grana cheese from Trentino and sage.
Together with Canederli (bread round dumplings), strangolapreti are undoubtedly a must for Trentino peasant cuisine.
A bizarre name
Why exactly “strangolapreti”?
The answers are vague and hypothetical. According to most, it is due to the fact that the priests at the time were extremely greedy. The story goes that, in the eighteenth century, a very hungry priest, wandering in the countryside, stopped in an inn to get some food. He tasted the delicious dumplings and, as he was extremely greedy, he ordered more and more dumplings. He choked on a bite and almost died.
Whatever the legend related to the recipe, we recommend that you prepare them by yourself as they are extremely easy and really tasty.
Fresh spinach is the ideal ingredient but if you do not have it, chard or fresh herbs will also be fine (you should be ready for its bitter taste in this case).
Steam a kilo of fresh spinach or cook it in very little salted water. Once cooked (it takes very little), squeeze it well and pass it through a vegetable mill. In the meantime, you should have soaked five or six slices of stale bread in fresh milk (better if it’s homemade bread). Squeeze them, pass them through the vegetable mill and add them to the spinach.
Then add 2 whole eggs, four spoons of white flour and mix well. If the dough is too soft, add some breadcrumbs (don’t add any flour otherwise the dumplings would be too hard).
Boil some salted water. Either you take some of the dough with a wet spoon or you use your hands – they should be wet, too – and roll the mixture into cylinder shaped dumplings. Put them in boiling water and wait until they rise to the surface.
Drain the dumplings and season with abundant butter, Trentingrana and fresh sage leaves (or dried if you don’t have any).
Greedy note: add some butter with some finely chopped onion to a frying pan. Add your strangolapreti and some grana.
This is a traditional recipe. We know very well that every family has its own secret version.
Sometimes it’s just a personal touch, perhaps going back to the memories of the grandmother who used to spoil her nephews with her delightful recipe, or that of the mother, who added that “pinch of something more” to make strangolapreti even tastier.
Each family jealously guards a culinary “secret” but if you feel like it, share yours with us!
We all know that cooking traditions are an irreplaceable part of every local history.