Malloreddus is otherwise known as ‘gnocchetti sardi’ (‘small gnocchi from Sardinia’) and hail from the Italian island of Sardegna. Here, they have been made and associated with special occasions for centuries. The diminutive of ‘malloru’ (‘bull’ in Sardinian dialect), ‘malloreddus’ means ‘fat little calves’.
As tradition dictates, on the night of her wedding, a Sardinian bride will parade through town wearing silver jewellery with a large basket of malloreddus that she has made by hand. She is closely followed by her family until she reaches the doorstep of her betrothed, who scares off her entourage with rifle shots. The bride then enters, eating her malloreddus from the same plate as her new husband, thus signalling the start of a happy and long-lasting marriage!
The preparation of malloreddus is a traditional process, which involves cutting the pasta dough into cubes, before pressing them against a ciuliri (a sieve or riddle traditionally made of straw). This process provides the malloreddus with their signature ridged shape.
Whilst they lend themselves to a variety of sauces, in true Sardinian fashion, this recipe sees malloreddus paired with Campidanese sauce, a traditional Sardinian ragù made with sausage, tomatoes and fennel seeds.
Malloreddus with Sausage Ragù from Sardinia
Prep Time: 70 minutes (including the pasta)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 812kcal
For the malloreddus
- 400g semolina flour or durum wheat flour, finely ground
- 200ml warm water
- Pinch of salt
You'll need a gnocchi/malloreddus board to create this pasta - see our range of pasta making kits to add this equipment to your kitchen arsenal.
For the sausage ragu
- 500g passata
- 400g good quality pork sausage
- Half a glass of dry white wine
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2tsp fennel seeds
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Prepare the white pasta dough for your malloreddus following our simple pasta bianca recipe.
- Once the dough is ready, shape the malloreddus following our video guide below:
- Set the pasta aside to dry slightly, while you prepare your sauce.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add a whole garlic clove. Fry for a couple of minutes, until the oil is well infused.
- Discard the olive oil, and add the onion. Sauté the mixture for a few minutes until translucent. Add the sausage meat, breaking the meat apart with a wooden spatula. Once browned and completely cooked, add the white wine.
- Cook for a couple of minutes, until the alcohol is completely evaporated. At this point, add the passata, fennel seeds, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined, and allow to simmer for a further ten minutes, until thickened.
- Boil your fresh malloreddus in a pot of generously salted water for around 3 minutes, until al dente. Once cooked, strain the pasta and to the saucepan. Reserve a little of the starchy pasta water here - you can use it to loosen the sauce if necessary.
- Plate and garnish with a generous scattering of Italian hard cheese. Buon appetito.
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