Due to its geographical position, Friuli-Venezia Giulia is a region strongly influenced by history and exchange with neighbouring populations. The barbarian, Turkish and Austro-Hungarian invasions have also left their mark on the region’s eating habits. The gnochi de pan from Trieste are a very tasty example, and in autumn, when the thermometer starts to drop, warming up with a hearty dish becomes almost an absolute must.
GNOCHI DE PAN: COUSINS OF CANEDERLI, BUT “DRY”.
The kitchen mix you can experience in Trieste is certainly one of the rarest in Italy. Of course there is the tradition of the sea, because Trieste and its gulf have a millenary history of fishing and fishermen.
But there is an equally surprising land-based cuisine of Central European tradition that the Habsburgs brought to the Adriatic during the two centuries when Trieste was the port of the empire.
The Gnochi de Pan are authoritative witnesses of this! They represent a poor recipe, born to recover old bread and leftovers of cold cuts: a dish of recycling, invented to give a second life to loaves of bread no longer fresh. Clearly of Austrian influence, they are similar to dumplings but are distinguished from the latter in that they are served “suti” (dry) and not in broth.
They are delicious seasoned with butter and sage or with goulash, and here come back the Central European contaminations we mentioned and precisely the Hungarian ones. In Prague, in fact, bread dumplings have always accompanied goulash, the full-bodied beef stew that Hungarian herdsmen used to cook in the open air in large cauldrons placed on the fire during the long periods when they used to graze their cattle.
I propose you my recipe: click here…and enjoy your meal!
HOW TO PREPARE THEM: THE RECIPE
Ingredients for about 16 gnocchi
KNEADING – 200gr of old bread, 200ml of milk, 1 egg, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of grated cheese, 80gr of cooked ham (or mortadella, or other salami), 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley, 115gr of flour + 2 tablespoons.
CONDIMENT – 40gr butter, 4/5 sage leaves, 4 tablespoons grated cheese.
PREPARATION – The evening before, cut the stale bread into pieces, transfer it to a bowl and add the milk. Put it in the fridge for one night. The next day, coarsely chop the ham and pour it into a bowl. Add the bread squeezed out well, the beaten egg, salt, chopped parsley and 115 grams of flour.
Mix all the ingredients together well with your hands, then form meatballs of about 5 cm in diameter. Flour them lightly and dip them in plenty of boiling salted water: after a couple of minutes they will come to the surface. Drain them well and divide them into dishes. In a small saucepan, heat the butter with the sage until it becomes hazelnut. Season the bread dumplings and finish with a sprinkling of grated cheese.