• Jonathon Sawyer’s Strangolapreti alla Trentina


A celebration of yesterday’s leftovers, transformed into today’s feast.

By Jonathon Sawyer

Jonathon Sawyer's Strangolapreti alla Trentina


  • 4 cups day old bread, grated coarsely
  • 2 eggs, whole
  • 4 cups raw spinach leaf (yields 1 cup blanched & finely chopped spinach)
  • 1 cups Trenta grana or Paremsan cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta or mascarpone
  • 1 cup soft sexy cheese like Robbiola La Tur or Epoisses
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaf
  • 2 tablespoons CPEVOO current harvest of oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon stout beer vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Bench flour for dusting the balls after they’re rolled


Servings: About 4

In a large mixing bowl combine grated breadcrumbs, 1/2 the olive oil, all the parmesan, one sage leaf torn and some salt and pepper. Combine until fully homogeneous.

Add the eggs, spinach and ricotta, beaten lightly to combine with the bread mix. Using hand, mix until evenly combined–should be sticky, not wet or dry.

We liken the forming technique to fill a beggar’s purse first, than rolling a meatball. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pasta dough in the palm of your hand. Using you palms, flatten the dough to 1/4-inch thick disc of dough. The opposite of sushi and matzo balls, the drier and more floured your hands are the less the dough will stick.

Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of ooey gooey soft sexy pants cheese in the center. We like to pre-roll all the cheese and even freeze it, especially if we are making a lot of Strangolapreti. Likewise you can pre-roll all the pasta dough in between two pieces of parchment, then ring mold cut it just prior to filling.

Rolling and flouring the balls is easy, if you just remember to let gravity do the work for you. Never roll balls, of meat or pasta, parallel to the work surface but always perpendicular. The Trentino proverb of always praying with your canardeli applies here as well. Roll and flour until mix is gone, should yield 10 to 12 pieces, enough to appetizer four happy people.

Blanching strangolapreti is similar to gnocchi, but a little more fragile. The goal is to cook just enough to melt the cheese to molten center. If it’s cooked too aggressively the cheese may leak through the pasta, not the end of the world though. Lightly simmering heavily-salted pasta water is adequate. They will float when cooked perfectly, approximately 7 minutes.

Transfer well-strained strango’s to a sauce pan over medium high heat with the remaining olive oil in it. I don’t like to cook more than six at a time. As they brown add the sage and butter. Allow everything to caramelize and brown, carefully flipping the pasta to achieve color on both sides.

Remove leaf and pasta, begin to plate three per order. Add the vinegar to the pan and a little pasta water, creating a wonderful blend of sour, salt, sweet and fat to anoint the balls with.

Garnish with parmesan and enjoy!

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