Traditionally made in Sardinia, malloreddus are also known as ‘gnochetti sardi’ meaning ‘little Sardinian gnocchi’. Despite this name, these pasta pieces are in fact made from durum wheat flour and not potatoes as one might mistakenly infer. In shape, if not composition, malloreddus do resemble gnocchi, with their curved edges and deep grooves. Derived from cucina povera (the traditional peasant cuisine of southern Italy), this pasta variety is made without eggs, usually simply involving durum wheat flour and water, though in this special recipe of Roberta’s we’ve also included spinach which gives each piece a vibrant green hue.
Roberta loves to serve her spinach infused malloreddus with a traditional Sardinian sausage ragù but if you’re looking for something a little quicker for those weekday evenings then she also recommends serving your malloreddus with some pan-fried pancetta and a creamy sage butter sauce with a generous sprinkling of Pecorino Romano!
Make Roberta’s Fresh Spinach Malloreddus
Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including resting time of pasta dough)
Calories per serving: 289 kcal
- Gnocchi board
- 250g durum wheat flour (fine semolina flour)
- 50g fresh spinach
- 90ml water
If you want to follow along with Roberta as she makes fresh malloreddus, just watch the video below, but don’t forget to combine the spinach with the flour in the first step!
Making the dough:
- Roberta has let us in on a little secret for this recipe; her quick way to ensure all of the ingredients for the dough are thoroughly mixed together is to blend the spinach and the flour in a food processor, gradually adding a little of the water at a time until a thick dough has been formed.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and form it into a ball.
Kneading the dough:
- Lightly flour a clean work surface and knead the dough by pressing the heel of one hand into the ball, keeping your fingers high.
- Press down on the dough while pushing it firmly away from you. The dough should stretch and roll under your hand to create a shell-like shape.
- Turn the dough over, then press into the dough with your knuckles, one hand at a time. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch.
- Roll the dough into a smooth ball.
- Cover the dough loosely with a tea towel and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.
Shaping the dough:
- To make the dough into malloreddus, cut a small piece off your ball of dough and, using the palm of your hand, roll it into a long cylindrical shape.
- Divide the ‘snake’ of dough into small pieces, about 1cm in width, using a knife.
- Finally, take each small piece, one at a time, and place it on the gnocchi board. Then, using a knife, drag the dough gently down the board (as demonstrated by Roberta in the video above) so that it curves in on itself and is left with deep grooves.
- Repeat these steps until you’ve used up all of your dough and you have lots of small pieces of malloreddus. Now your pasta is ready to cook!
Cooking the pasta:
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add your malloreddus and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer to your sauce of choice. Serve immediately, buon appetito!
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