Know your gnocchetti

Do you know the meaning of the word “malloreddus”? Me neither, I had to google it to write this post ha! In the rest of Italy, this delicious pasta is known as “gnocchetti sardi”, but the proper name is in sardinian dialect and it is actually unclear what it means.

Some believe it comes from the latin for “little morsels”, while others say that the word come from the Sardinian “malloru” which means bull. Therefore, malloreddus should mean little fat calves (I don’t know why we need to call them fat, totally unnecessary. Friendly reminder that no matter shape or size, everybody is beautiful, even pasta).

Traditionally, these gnocchetti used to be handmade by women, using a basket called ciuliri. Depending on the basket used, the pasta would have a different pattern.

Malloreddus have a special place in Sardinians hearts: it is the pasta of city festivals, big events, family gatherings, wedding. Historically, the bride used to make malloreddus, put them in a basket and parade through the city along with her family and friends. The bride and groom to be would then eat malloreddus from the same plate to ensure a long lasting and happy wedding. And they say romance is dead.

Historically, the dough used to be made with semolina flour, water and saffron. Today, the saffron is not used anymore as it affects the taste of the pasta and not all sauces go well with this spice.

Fun fact: women used to make batches of gnocchetti using white and yellow flour. They cooked both batches together and serve them. The person that had more yellow malloreddus was meant to have more luck in life!

So today I am going to give you the recipe for the dough, and I will show you how to make gnocchetti sardi, while tomorrow I will give you ideas for sauces and the recipe for the most traditional dish with malloreddus.

Ingredients for 4 people:

-semolina flour, 400g

-water, 200ml

-pinch of salt

Equipment needed: either the pad showed in the video or alternatively a fork

Steps:

  1. Mix together semolina and flour
  2. Once they are all amalgamated, add the salt
  3. Knead until you have a smooth texture
  4. Cover with cling film for 30 minutes
  5. Take 1/4 of the dough, cover the rest with cling film
  6. Roll the dough until you get a sausage 1cm wide
  7. Cut it in square 1cm wide
  8. Press the squares against the pad or the fork as shown in the video below
  9. Do the same for the rest of the dough, 1/4 at the time
  10. Leave the malloreddus to dry for at least one hour
  11. Boil water and add salt
  12. Cook the gnocchetti for 3/4 minutes, they will start resurfacing on the water when they are done (taste them before draining them, they might be too much “al dente” for some people)

gnocchi italian food italy Pasta

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