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Mallureddus with tomato sauce

I'm Italian and I love pasta, but still I don't eat it every day. Growing up was different. I had pasta almost every day, sometimes even twice a day. The sauces changed, but pasta was our staple.

Now I eat it occasionally, which make it more of a special dish.  I like to make my own pasta, even though there are always a few packages of store bough pasta in the pantry. For me, pasta is ever-changing – each pasta tells its own story through its shape, and the ingredients that go into the dough.  A dough made with flour and eggs has its roots in abundance and wealth, while a flour and water dough -- my favorite -- is a proud statement of simplicity and an echo of poverty in times past. As often happens, creativity flourishes in constrained situations, and we continue to enjoy the fruits of that creativity when we enjoy those recipes by choice today.

I love to go through the steps of mixing flour and water, kneading it, letting it rest and then playing around with the shapes. When I shape the mallureddus pasta with the back of a fork instead of the traditional straw basket I still can connect with my roots and experience the pleasure of creating something. Using just two ingredients reminds me that all that the best things in life are the simplest.

This recipe is from my paternal grandmother.  When my father was still a child, she moved with my grandfather from Sardinia to Florence, looking for better economic opportunities. 

I remember my grandma calling me on the phone and saying, "I made Mallureddus, when are you coming for dinner?".

These little “calves” (the meaning of Mallureddus in one of the Sardinian dialects) are usually served with a thick sauce of tomato and sausage, but since my father has been a vegetarian since he was a child, my Grandmother’s version was made with tomato sauce.

To make this a truly Sardinian recipe, leave the garlic cloves whole, gently fry them with olive oil for a couple of minutes and then remove the cloves. In this way the oil will be infused but you won't have pieces of garlic in the sauce. And add a small bunch of basil to the tomato sauce one or two minutes before it's ready, without chopping the basil. 

Serves 2

Ingredients for the sauce:

5 table spoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups of crushed tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic (you can finely chop them or leave them whole and then remove them before serving)

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmesan or pecorino cheese to add at the end (optional)

Ingredients for the pasta (if you make your own):

1 cup semolina flour

1/2 cup warm water 

 

Instructions :

When you make pasta dough you want to have a nice, non-sticky dough which isn’t as soft as a bread or pizza dough.

Amounts are approximate. You might need to add more flour if your dough is too soft or more water if it doesn’t come together.

Pour the flour in a wooden board or in a bowl if you prefer. Make a well in the flour and add and some warm water, little by little.

Knead your dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and soft.

Wrap your ball of dough in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Once it has rested cut strips of dough, keeping what you are not using covered in plastic wrap, and roll to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut it in small pieces, about as big as the first segment of your index finger.

Using the back of the tines of a fork, gently push each piece in a curling motion, flicking the piece of dough to make ridges on the pasta. If the dough is too sticky, roll the pieces of dough lightly in flour before making ridges.

Once formed, toss the malloreddus with semolina flour to keep them from sticking together and them store them on cookie trays, lightly-lined with semolina, uncovered.

Make the sauce. In a pan on medium heat gently fry the garlic (chopped or whole) for a couple of minutes. Then add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the basil. 

Cook the mallureddus in salted boiling water for a few minutes. When ‘al dente’ drain it and add it to the sauce. Mix the pasta and sauce together and sprinkle with some pecorino romano or parmesan cheese.

 

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About this document

Created: September 30, 2018

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