"It's crispy on the outside," Jonathon Sawyer says. "It's an oozy, cheesy, Bacchanalian orgy on the inside."

The Cleveland-based chef is describing dumplings called strangolapreti (see the recipe) he'll be serving at his new restaurant, Trentina, when it opens in May.

Sawyer is a James Beard-nominated chef who's made a name for himself in the Midwest and beyond at The Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat and with his line of artisanal Tavern vinegars.

Chef Jonathon Sawyer | Day-old bread and sage for strangolapreti

Trentina celebrates his foray into the German-, Austrian- and Swiss-inflected food of Trento, a city in Trentino-Alto-Adige on the northeastern cuff of Italy's boot. Sawyer's wife's family is from the city, making it a labor of love for the couple. He and Amelia even launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the restaurant.

Strangolapreti isn't in the familiar lexicon of red-sauce Italian fare, but it does hit all the happy, comforting notes we like: bread, good cheese, butter.


Picture this: a layer of ground-up, day-old bread, spinach, ricotta and Parm wrapped around soft robiola cheese. After blanching and pan searing, the round dumplings are drizzled with a touch of vinegar and brown butter infused with sage. One bite, and the cheese runs out onto the plate.

"The dish goes back to an old proverb," Sawyer says. "'Yesterday's waste is today's treasure.'"

What we're saying is: Strangolapreti is tonight's dinner.