Mar 20, 2012

Culurgiones ~ Sardinian ravioli

Welcome back to You're the cook today our series of guest recipes from around the world.
Today we meet Luke from Britain, who has a special bond with the emerald isle of Sardegna, and its glorious food.

Everyone loves eating Italian, but often food from Sardinia gets overlooked. Dishes vary from place to place on the island, as every village has their own special finishing touches and secret ingredients handed down from family and tradition.

Sardinian cuisine is heavily influenced by Italian continental cuisine with notable amounts of pasta, gnocchi, pizza oven baked bread, but shines in its own roasted meats, freshly caught fish, seafood concoctions and a wide variety of tasty Pecorino cheeses, often paired with locally farmed Sardinian honey.

Sardinian specialities include porceddu which is a spit-roasted suckling pig, baked slowly over hot coals for about 3 hours. There are also all sots of different types of home-made pasta dishes, often served with ricotta, or hundreds of varieties of local Pecorino cheese.

Culurgiones are famous traditional Sardinian stuffed dough pockets, whose name means, 'little bundles' which accurately describes these parcels of joy. Although a little tricky to make as the stitching process requires a little practice, the actual pasta base is easy enough to make and the cooking is minimal.

As with making any pasta from scratch, the key is patience, so it's best to set aside some time and enjoy the whole cooking process without worrying about the clock.

It is paramount to use the best ingredients for this dish in order to allow the simple flavours to shine.

You'll need the following ingredients to make the pasta base:
250 grams semolina
250 grams all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
100 grams warm water, more or less

Mix together the semolina, flour, olive oil and salt. Then slowly add the warm water a little at a time while kneading, until you obtain an elastic dough, which is manageable and supple. Form a ball, place in a bowl and keep covered for half an hour.

Next up you will need to make the filling for the Culurgiones, for which you will need the following ingredients:
4 medium sized potatoes
50 grams sheep's milk ricotta
50 grams Sardinian pecorino cheese, grated
Some fresh mint leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced

Boil the peeled potatoes in salted water until soft and fluffy. Once ready, rice the potatoes and stir in the cheeses, fresh mint and olive oil. Leave the filling to cool for an hour. If you are in a rush it's best to transfer the mashed potato mix from the pan to a mixing bowl, as this will speed up the cooling process.

Now that you have your pasta and filling for the Culurgiones, the next step is to prepare your dough and set up a production line for making them.

Roll out the pasta dough until quite thin and cut out 8-cm diameter circles, I often find a mug or cup is exactly the right size, and if you push the mug down into the pasta firmly, you won't need to cut around the mug, which can get a little tricky.

Once you have your circles of pasta, take a teaspoon and drop a small amount of filling on each disc. The next step is a little tricky and requires some practice.

Hold the disk in your hand and fold one side over the potato filling then pinch the middle of the fold with your finger and plait the two sides together. The pasta should be like braiding where one side rests on top of the other.

When you reach the top, pinch the final piece to ensure that no filling escapes. As you make more Culurgiones you will find the process a lot easier and hopefully they will look more and more like the genuine article. If you have made more Culurgiones than possible to eat in one go, they can be frozen and saved for later. When ready to cook, there will be no need to defrost first. This makes them ideal for a quick meal when you are pushed for time.

Boil the Culurgiones parcels in salted water for around five minutes until tender.

Traditionally the dish is accompanied with a simple tomato sauce, a sprinkling of pecorino cheese, some fresh mint, and a good bottle of local wine. Common recipe variations include the addition of onion in the filling, or seasonings like nutmeg or saffron.

Good luck and enjoy!

Luke is passionate about traveling and cooking, and works with Charming Sardinia a travel company that offers tailor made luxury holidays to Sardinia. He is crazy about food and spends most of his time sourcing quality ingredients and finding recipes to try out on friends.


Love the foods and traditions of Sardinia? Interested in reading more about it? Check out my articles (with recipes) on Pane Carasau, Malloreddus, Seadas and reviews (in Italian) of many beautiful restaurants in Sardegna.

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for the beautiful photos of Sardinia, the lovely links and the delicious and novel pasta recipe. I was a tad bit nervous when you mentioned "stitching" in the early part of your post, as I don't sew, but braiding? I can handle that!

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  2. These look lovely. Now if I only had better small motor skills…

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  3. Could you please post photos of the process of folding the pasta to make the gorgeous and incredibly beautiful Sardinian ravioli? I'm a little unsure by your directions and feel step by step photos would really help. Thank you!
    Alison

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  4. Your blog is just incredible, Eleonora! I thoroughly enjoy every post and picture. I know this was a guest post (which was wonderful too) but I wanted you to know how much I look forward to your posts. When I grow up I want to be you :)

    Thank you for doing what you do -

    robyn

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  5. I might have to try this. I love eating, I love cooking, but I hate baking because it is sooo messy and, frankly, I have memories of somebody spilling flour all over the floor and refusing to clean it up! But: these Culurgiones look fabulous and fairly easy. I'll save this one.

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  6. Jill~
    Great! Hope you make them soon!!

    Frank~
    Aw, c'mon give it a shot!!

    Alison~
    I'll tell Luke (the author of this guest post) to send over some photos of the step-by-step :)

    Robyn~
    You are the sweetest! New posts coming soon :)

    Icedgurl~
    Ciao!

    Jeff~
    Beavo, let me know how they turn out, OK?

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  7. Not only do they look amazing, they look delicious. Wow!

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  8. Just discovered your blog and am so glad I did - it's unusual little recipes like this that make my day! These look so lovely, and possibly even easier to make than standard ravioli - definitely going to give them a go.

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  9. This is a great posting I have read. I like your article.

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Eleonora

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