Canederli di Fegato

Liver Dumplings

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Recipes from an Italian Farmhouse

Recipes from an Italian Farmhouse

By Valentina Harris

Published 1995

  • About

Strictly this is not a pasta dish, but any Italian would understand its being included here, for it is cooked and served ‘in brodo’, like so many stuffed pastas. A rosé wine is the traditional drink to serve with these dumplings. I suggest the delightful Casteller from the vineyards of the Trentino in the north, where this dish is enjoyed.


  • 450 g (1 lb) stale white bread, 2 or 3 days old, not sliced
  • 400 g (14 oz) calf’s liver or chicken livers
  • a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • a sprig of fresh marjoram, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 g (7 oz) fine white flour
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) milk
  • 1.5 litres ( pints) good meat or vegetable broth


Cut the bread into thin slices, then cube it. Mince the liver to a pulp. Mix together the vegetables, herbs, bread and liver. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg then add the lemon rind, olive oil and eggs and stir thoroughly. Add the flour and the milk and stir vigorously until you have a thick, smooth mass.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, shape the dough into balls about the size of a baby’s fist. Slide them into the water and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the broth. When the dumplings are ready, ladle the broth into 6 bowls. Scoop out the dumplings from the water with a slotted spoon and divide them equally between the 6 bowls. Served at once with a sprinkling of extra parsley and marjoram, and more broth if you like.