Friday, 16 August 2019

Culurgiones - Sardinian potato filled pasta

Don't be intimidated by the shape, it is a simple pinch one side then crimp to the other to reveal a beautiful wheat shaped pasta.  Recipe for Dough and Pasta is enough to make approximately 70 culurgiones.  Sauce is enough for 4 persons.  These are very filling pasta shapes, therefore for starters serve 6-8 culurgiones, and for main course serve 12-14.

For the dough

400g Plain 00 flour
300g Semola Flour
4 eggs
150ml water
1/2 tsp salt

For the Filling

1kg mashed potato
few strands of Saffron
3 heaped tbsp Grated Pecorino
Salt & Pepper to season

For the Sauce

150g maltese sausage
6 chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
few basil leaves
1/2cup pasta water
Grind of fresh Pepper
Grated pecorino to finish


  1. Prepare pasta by adding all ingredients in a food processor, and give short pulses until all combined
  2. Transfer dough on a clean top, and knead until smooth
  3. Wrap dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  4. Prepare filling by adding all ingredients together in a large bowl
  5. Using clean hands knead to activate the potato gluten until mixture resembles the gnocchi dough
  6. Take 1/10th of the dough and pass through pasta machine until approx 1mm thick
  7. Cut circles using 6cm diameter ring.
  8. Put a walnut size of potato filling on to each pasta circle
  9. Make 5 at a time and cover the pasta with cloth as it dries out. 
  10. Take the pasta circle in one hand, using the other hand, pinch from side to side to form the culurgiones
  11. Bring a pan of water to boil, add 1 tsp salt
  12. Add fresh culurgiones and boil for just 5 minutes.
  13. Heat frying pan and fry small knobs of maltese sausage in olive oil
  14. Add chopped sun dried tomatoes
  15. Lift Culurgiones from boiling water and add directly to frying pan.
  16. Add pasta liquid and butter and toss
  17. Toss for about 30 seconds, adding basil leaves at the last 10 seconds
  18. Serve topped with grated pecorino cheese 

Monday, 12 August 2019

Pici al Pesto di Nocciole

Pici is a typical Tuscan pasta, shaped in the form of a thick Spaghetti.  They taste fabulously with ragu al cingiale, but summer is here and basil is in abundance.  Get hold of some Piedmontese hazelnuts and all around your table will be more than pleased to tuck in!

For Pesto
Large Bunch of Fresh basil
250g Raw, Shelled and Skinned Hazelnuts
3 Cloves Garlic
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
3 tablespoons Grated Parmesan
100ml Fresh cream
100ml olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon

For Pasta
500g Pici
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional) 
1 tbsp olive oil
Ground Fresh Pepper

For Garnish
Basil Leaves
Parmesan/Pecorino shavings
Olive oil

  1. Heat a non stick frying pan on medium heat, add hazelnuts and toast till lightly golden.  Keep turning the pan at all times to avoid burning.  Process takes about 5 minutes.  Cool slightly.
  2. Add cooled hazelnuts to food processor, add crushed garlic and process till coarsely ground.
  3. Add basil leaves, turn on machine again and process while pouring oil.
  4. Add lemon juice and give few more pulses.
  5. Add grated parmesan, salt and pepper and give few more pulses to combine.
  6. Transfer mixture to clean jar, top with more olive oil so that surface will not discolour and refrigerate.  (keeps well for 2-3 months) 

  1. Bring a large pan of water to boil, add 1 tsp salt, add pici and cook for about 15 minutes till just al dente.  
  2. Drain but reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  3. Return pasta to pan, add two heaped tablespoons of pesto
  4. Add cream
  5. chilli flakes (if desired)
  6. Mix well on low heat, loosening with reserved pasta liquid.
  7. Serve with fresh basil leaves, parmesan shavings and drizzle of olive oil

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Strozzapreti Rigati

I used a basic dough for ricotta gnocchi, but with a touch more flour to make a harder dough and easier to shape.  You can prepare these in advance and freeze uncooked. Recipe is enough for 4 generous main portions or 7-8 starters.

For the Dough

500g ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp fresh thyme
grated nutmeg
250g Semola flour
250g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp salt

For the Sauce 

3 San Marzano Tomatoes
Fresh Basil
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Grated Pecorino or Parmeggiano Cheese

  1. Process ricotta, eggs, thyme and salt in a food processor till creamy
  2. Add mixture to a large bowl and add flours
  3. Knead flour till dough ball forms. (as not all flours absorb the same, quantity may vary a little.
  4. Divide dough into ten pieces
  5. Roll each piece to long rope approximately 1cm thick
  6. Cut each roll into small 1cm pieces, as you do for gnocchi
  7. Take each piece and roll it under your palm on top of flat surface or else on a gnocchi board to have the 'Rigate' effect
  8. Place each strozzapreti on a floured tray 

Bring a large pan of water to boil, add  1 tsp sea salt  and boil strozzapreti for just 4 minutes, till just al dente. (fresh pasta takes much less to cook and normally floats when about to be ready)

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pan, add chopped tomatoes, season well and cook for just 2 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon lift strozzapreti from boiling water and add directly to sauce.  Add basil leaves, toss and serve.  Sprinkle pecorino or parmeggiano.