Sep 28, 2011

Malloreddus recipe

The stunning island of Sardinia bears the marks of outsiders, from Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans to the seamen of Genoa, Pisa, and the Savoys who proclaimed the Kingdom of Sardegna. But Spaniards, who ruled for centuries before, lent the most pronounced accents to the language, food and wines. As a sum of all these influences, the cooking of Sardegna still remains as eccentric as the nuraghe, the prehistoric stone towers whose origins are still a rocky enigma.

Sardegna folks consume interesting quantities of dried pasta, in the familiar forms of spaghetti and maccheroni, though they also make the singular ravioli-like Culurgiones, toss Fregula buttons in their soups, and roll homemade semolina gnocchi called malloreddus, commonly described as the region’s most typical dish.

Here's the recipe to make them from scratch. Otherwise you can purchase them here.

800 g (4 cups) semolina flour
300 g (1 1/2 cups) warmed water
1 tsp powdered saffron

Mound the semolina and poke a hole in the top. Pour in the water, salt, and saffron in the crater, and using a fork, beat them together. Now begin to incorporate the semolina, starting with the inner rim of the volcano. When half of the semolina is incorporated, the dough will begin to come together. OK, now start kneading the dough, using the palms of your hands, mostly.

Discard any stray dried bits of dough and continue kneading for 10 more minutes, dusting the work surface with more flour if necessary. The dough should feel springy and a little bit sticky. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and allow to rest in a dusted bowl for 30 minutes at room temperature before using.

Cut the pasta into 4 parts. Roll each into a 1-inch snake, and cut into bolt-sized nuggets. Roll each piece on this tool, or down the back of a fork with your thumb to give it the characteristic ridges, and set aside on a floured surface until ready to cook.

Image © giallozafferano

For the sauce:

400 g (14 oz) canned tomatoes, crushed
200 g (1 cup) Italian sausage, peeled and minced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
A bunch of fresh wild fennel (can be substituted with fennel seeds if necessary)
Extra virgin olive oil
Lots of Pecorino or Fiore Sardo cheese, grated

Film a large skillet with a thread of olive oil, and lightly brown the sausage, when evenly colored, add the onion, and simmer over a low flame until translucent.

In a bowl, steep the chopped wild fennel in 1/4 cup olive oil and set aside.

When the onion and sausage have married, add the canned tomatoes and cook over mild heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally: do this for the pleasure of fogging up your glasses and inhaling the aroma. As every passionate cook knows, when you cook with love and pleasure, flavor and final outcome profit.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil, cook your homemade malloreddus, and drain quite al dente. 
Drop the cooked pasta into the pan with the tomatoes, mixing well until well coated. 
Stir in the fennel marinade, and simmer over vivacious heat for another 3-4 minutes. 
Sprinkle 3 handfuls of grated cheese, and stir some more. Serve straight from the cooking pan onto hot plates, dusted with more grated Pecorino or Fiore Sardo, and a large smile on your face.


  1. How do you do that? I just read a facebook status update of our exchange student from Sardegna:

    "cucina i malloreddus con il rag├╣! :D yummy!!!!!!"...

    Then I turn to your blog, and, ta da! Malloreddus! I guess I'll have to try making them very very soon.

  2. mmm...onion sausage pasta...lots of good stuff in this one lola...

  3. Love the way Italians use semolina, very different than what I am accustomed to.

  4. Brava! I have so far loveed every Sardegnan dish I have eaten, cooked or researched. It's quirky and reminds me sometimes of Portugese cookery. Being an island can pay off.

  5. That sounds easy enough to make, and already makes my mouth water. I like it how you always add some grated cheese (three handful? wow), and how lovingly you describe every step. And the smile at the end. Well, I guess I just like you and your blog, Lola!

  6. Homemade pasta is always a treat! Thanks.

  7. Giovanna~
    Ha, I'm tuned into your desires!

    A wonderful combo indeed :)

    Not quite cous cous... LOL

    There is a huge Portuguese influence! It's a bizarre cuisine, mainly inspired by the shepherd culture, and less by the fishermen... strange! But good!!!

    Never enough cheese :) Thank you for being so biased. Love ya

    Right! It's a manifestation of love.


  8. Deborah-
    Can you imagine a regional representative dish as this precious?
    I love Sradegna!!!

  9. Even the name sounds special, love the new banner.

  10. I think Sardegna is one of the most spectacularly beautiful regions in Italy. I remember eating maloreddu at an agriturismo there and am longing to go back. Thanks for the post.

  11. It looks absolutely divine but I am afraid if I tried to make it, it would rapidly look like a dog's breakfast. It's beentoo long since I visited and savoured your upmarket and highly professional blog - many congratulations.

    You and remain a very good friend and I send my very best wishes you you and little E (not so little now I suspect).

    Hope you are getting along OK.
    There is always a cuppa for you at my place.

    Hugs ~ Eddie

    PS Might do another Grand National horse race next year LOL

  12. LindaLM~
    Thank you! I'm happy you like it :)

    I agree, Sardegna rocks. Thank *you* for your lovely comments.

    How wonderful to have you visiting the refurbished kitchen? Do you like the improvements? ;) I miss you Eddie, and hope to catch up with you and upcoming race material... LOL