Sardinia – Serata Sardegna – We celebrate wanderlust
Oh dear, if only I had known before how much I would fall in love with this island. Actually we were there for only 7 days and maybe that’s too short of a time to make a promise for life – but I really can’t imagine that there is something in Sardinia which isn’t just absolutely wonderful!
Each beach appeared to us wider than the other. Nature in all its most fascinating variety! Wild horses, cork oaks, lagoons, high plateaus. Jagged rocks in the moonlight and valleys covered by fog in the morning. The jingle of cowbells, crowing roosters in the middle of the night, and the beautiful melody of our host yelling at unauthorized hunters on her property. The invitation to a full-moon pizza party completed our Sardinian paradise: dancing under the sky with a neverending pizza supply – surely that must be heaven!
Lucky is he who has holiday memories! In order to keep our memories fresh for a little bit longer, we recently had a Serata Sardegna: an easy-going evening with good friends, tasty drinks and refined recipes of Sardinian cuisine.
Now, I want you to be in the right mood for Sardinian cooking, so let me give you some impressions first. Arising wanderlust will be washed down with a big glass of Mirto afterwards!
If you’re planning a Sardinian evening, make sure that you have the typical flatbread called Pane Carasau. This bread made from wheat, yeast and salt is baked very hot and served the shepherds as a durable snack on their long trips through the Sardinian mountains. This is the best basis for a long, merry evening.
I recommend you have antipasti with your Pane Carasau. Of course, the Sardinians have some characteristic recipes, my favorites are Asparagi (wild asparagus in oil and herbs) and Fagioli (white beans pickled with oil, vinegar and herbs). Topped with a little bit of garlic sauce….delicious!
But you can’t have a Sardinian evening without typically Sardinian drinks: we chose the mild and refreshing Ichnusa, a beer which has been brewed on the island since 1912 and – very important! – Mirto, a Sardinian liquor made from myrtle.
Now you are ready to get to know the mouthwatering pasta! For the traditional first dish we chose the popular Malloreddus. These noodles are made from durum and are shaped like a shell. Every region has its own method of preparation, but they all use them as a tasty starter at festive occasions. The preparation is quite easy but the ingredients are so refined that you have to be careful to not become addicted to this delicious pasta!
Our second dish was a little bit of a challenge! The preparation of the Culurgiones dough and the filling with potatoes and mint is easy-peasy, but to nail the traditional braids shape needs a bit of practice. No matter how they look in the end, they taste simply nom-nom-nom yummy – I guarantee that in the end, there won’t be a single crumb left!
Of course, I tried to use as many ingredients as possible from our own garden: The leading roles were occupied by Rote Emmalie (a pink potato) and fresh Spearmint, which was defying the impending start of winter. And indeed, no Italian food can be without garlic! By the way, all my recipes are vegan. If you don’t know how to make vegan Parmesan out of cashews, just scroll down to the bottom of this page to find a very simple recipe.
By now I guess you are curious about my delicious Serata Saedegna recipes, so I won’t torture you any longer – “Curtain up” for Sardinian pasta!
Ingredients for Malloreddus alla Campidanese (vegan) for 5 persons
- 500 g Malloreddus
- 260 g vegan sausages (“Bratwurst”)
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 400 g tomatoes
- 50 g tomato paste
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- Bay leaf
- 1/8 tsp saffron threads
- One handful of basil leafs
- Vegan parmesan*
I recommend you prepare the sausage a few hours earlier. You have to cut it into little cubes and mix them with the fennel seeds. If you let them rest, they will have a better aroma. But if you are short on time it is no big deal to skip this step.
First you have to dissolve the saffron in a little bit water, chop the garlic into fine slices and cut the tomatoes into little pieces. Put the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and the fennel seeds (if they are not already mixed with the sausage) into a big pan and let them roast a little bit. In the meantime you can chop the basil and cook the Malloreddus. When the tomatoes reach the consistency of a thick sauce, add the sausage, saffron and basil and let everything simmer until the pasta is ready.
Once the pasta is ready you have to remove the bay leaf from the sauce. Now you can mix the Malloreddus and the tomato sauce, then arrange neatly on your plate with a huge pinch of Parmesan. Buon appetito!
(Please excuse the slightly out-of-focus picture… I swear I wasn’t drunk at the time!)
Ingredients for Culurgiones (5 hungry eaters)
For the pasta:
- 350 g durum wheat
- 150 ml water
For the filling:
- 400g potatoes
- 7 big mint leaves
- 2 gloves of garlic
- 140 g vegan parmesan*
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt, black pepper
For the sauce:
- 5 tomatoes
- 1 onion
- As much vegan parmesan* as you like
First, you have to prepare the dough (it needs an hour of cool-down time). Put the durum wheat in a bowl, form a little hole and fill it with water. Now mix the durum and the water little by little. Work the dough until firm, then put it in a dishtowel and let it chill.
While the dough is taking a little break, you can prepare the filling. First, cook the potatoes and then roast them in a pan for that roast aroma. Now you have to mash the potatoes and mix them with chopped mint leaves, sliced garlic, parmesan and olive oil. Give the filling a final seasoning with salt and black pepper.
When the dough is ready, roll it out or use a pasta maker. Cut out round shapes (around 3 inches) and put a little bit of the filling on them. For the traditional Culurgiones you have to close the ravioli in a braid shape. We tried, but didn’t have much luck producing typically Sardinian shapes. (No big deal, but to compare with proper, beautifully-shaped Culurgiones, check out the video tutorial on this blog: bauchgold.de)
Once you’re finished making your very own braid-shaped pasta, cut the onion and the tomatoes and stew them a little bit in a pan, then season with salt and black pepper. Arrange the tomato sauce and the Culurgiones on a plate and coat with Parmesan. Once again, buon appetito!
* Recipe for vegan parmesan from cashews:
– 200 g cashews
– 4 tbsp yeast flakes
– 1 tsp smoked salt
Mix all ingredients in a powerful blender until you’re left with a rustic consistency of the cashews without any cashew pieces.