Our very own social media manager Maria Tai has teamed up with head chef Roberta to share with us her traditional Sardinian pasta recipe of culurgiones.
What are Culurgiones?
Traditionally from the Ogliastra province in Sardinia, culurgiones are pockets of pasta (translating to ‘little leather satchels') filled traditionally with potato, pecorino, garlic and mint, although the fillings may vary from coast to coast. For example, Maria has chosen the variation from the Gallura province which uses orange zest in the filling for a little extra freshness.
Instantly recognisable by its shape which charmingly resembles strands of wheat culurgiones are eaten throughout the year in Sardinia, although historically they were prepared at the end of August to mark another successful harvest season.
Watch our step-by-step video to have Maria and Chef Roberta show you exactly how to make this delicious Sardinian dish and find out more about these tasty pockets of joy!
Preparation time: 2-2.5 hours (including making the pasta dough)
Calories per serving: 744 kcal
For the Filling
- 1kg red lady potatoes
- 100g pecorino cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- A small handful of fresh mint, chopped
- Orange or lemon zest (3/4 orange, or whole lemon)
For the Sauce
- 400g good quality chopped tomato or passata
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- A handful of basil, torn
- Olive Oil
For the Dough – follow the step-by-step guide here
- 200g semolina flour
- 100ml warm water
- Pinch of salt
- Extra pecorino for garnish
Prepare the filling
- Chop potatoes in half so they are a similar size, place in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Add salt once is boiling and cook until soft (10-15 mins dependant on the size of the potatoes).
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and allow to cool before removing the skins and mashing in a bowl
- Add the chopped garlic,
- Add in the mint & orange zest and mix well
- Add in salt and pecorino (don’t over salt as the cheese is quite salty)
- The filling will feel quite dry but don’t worry as the cheese will melt.
- Make the pasta bianca or vegan dough using our recipe and step-by-step video & allow to rest for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting make the sauce
- Add a splash of olive oil to a pan and add crushed garlic to infuse the oil
- Add the chopped tomatoes & passata along with the torn basil leaves
- Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Roll out the pasta dough
- If using a pasta machine, work your way from setting 1-6 to obtain your pasta sheets or sfoglie.
- If rolling by hand, lightly flour your surface.
- Shape the dough into a rough circle.
- With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough as you would with a pastry crust, starting in the centre and rolling away from you to the outer edge.
- Turn the dough a quarter-turn, and repeat, working your way around, until the sheet of dough is 1/8 inch thin or less. Scatter a small amount of flour on the dough whenever it starts to stick to the surface or the rolling pin.
Shape the culurgiones
*In our video Roberta is using a glass cup – reused from our chocolate profiterole dessert! However, you can use any glass or rounded pasta cutter to attain the round pasta discs. ** As this is quite a tricky method, we highly recommend watching the video so you can learn by eye!
- Take a small handful of filling and gently squeeze to shape into a rough oval shape. Don’t worry if there’s too much filling, you will be able to squeeze some excess out before closing the dough.
- Place in the middle of the dough and fold the dough in half (so it looks a bit like a hard-shell taco!)
- Seal one end by folding up the end and pushing it against the filling, then take both sides of the dough, pinch and fold them together (if they don’t seal you can use a bit of water) and push inwards towards the filling. Continue this along the spine of the culurgiones, creating a braided pattern. If there is too much filling spilling out, squeeze off the excess back into the bowl and seal by twisting the dough.
- Repeat with all other pasta dough discs until all the pasta is used up.
Cook the pasta
- Bring a big pan of heavily salted water to boil and add the culurgiones into the water for around 3-4 minutes. *When they begin to float, they are done.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking warm through the tomato sauce.
- Once cooked, using a slotted spoon transfer the culurgiones onto a plate.
- Drizzle some of the tomato sauce on top along with a generous sprinkling of pecorino cheese and serve. Buon appetito!
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