Each region in Italy has its own pasta shapes and pasta recipes. For the southern part of the island of Sardinia the shape is called malloreddus or gnocchetti sardi, and the traditional dish using them is called Malloreddus alla Campidanese. A while ago I showed you how to make fresh malloreddus from scratch, with an amazingly delicious sauce of fennel and sausage. This time I used store-bought dry malloreddus and prepared them traditionally alla Campidanese. This means with (Sardinian) pork sausage, tomatoes, onions, and saffron. It goes without saying that the cheese to be sprinkled over this should be pecorino sardo (sheep’s cheese from Sardinia), which happens to be one of my favorite cheeses.
DeCecco makes gnocchetti sardi, which makes them relatively easy to find outside of Sardinia. Artisanal or homemade malloreddus are of course better, but I liked this dish just fine with DeCecco. Using store-bought pasta makes this a dish that is easy to prepare after work on a weeknight, as it takes only half an hour from start to finish. This dish is best with fresh ripe Sardinian tomatoes, but canned tomatoes will do in a pinch. The amount of sauce is small, just enough to coat the pasta, which is as it should be. This does mean that this is a true primo piatto that should be followed by a secondo piatto to make it a full meal, as the amount of protein and especially vegetables would otherwise not be sufficient.
150 grams (.33 lb) gnocchetti sardi/malloreddus pasta
1 Italian (preferably Sardinian) fresh pork sausage (salsiccia), about 80 grams (3 oz), minced
125 ml (1/2 cup) peeled tomatoes, pureed in the food processor
1 small onion, thinly sliced
pinch of saffron threads
2 Tbsp olive oil
freshly grated pecorino sardo cheese
It goes without saying that this pairs best with a nice red from Sardinia.
Two years ago I wrote about my experiment with the Girardet method for broiling fish in a bath of white wine. This reminds me that I should try this again when I find a suitably thick piece of fish with skin.