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  • Brian Bender, PhD

How to Make Traditional Sardinian Stuffed Pasta

When you’re looking for new recipes that are healthy, but also insanely delicious, look no further than Sardinia, Italy. This traditional recipe for a traditional Sardinian-style, potato and mint-stuffed pasta takes some time. But believe me, it’s worth it.

Sardinia, Italy is one of the healthiest places on the planet. It is home to one of the highest rates of active centenarians, and the life expectancy of men in this region is particularly high compared to the rest of the world.

In addition to a glass or two of wine every night with friends and family, an active life with delicious, traditional diets are part of the secret.

Cooking Italian food requires at least one recipe for making homemade pasta and at least one recipe for making homemade tomato sauce. We discussed a tomato sauce recipe on our blog when making Sardinian pizza, and we’ve discussed a pasta recipe for small Sardinian gnocchi with meat sauce before on our blog. Here, we’ll use a similar pasta recipe to make stuffed pasta!

The following recipe comes from a treasure trove of over 2,000 traditional and regional Italian recipes from the cookbook, La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy.

This recipe will take some time, particularly to prepare the pasta. Making pasta by hand can take some practice. And rolling it into thin sheets is a skill that often takes years to learn.

Although we used a rolling machine, and will provide the instructions for this method, we still suggest setting aside a couple hours for the first attempt if you are less familiar with creating your own pasta.

Here we go! First, you must prepare the pasta!

Add 3 cups of Semolina flour to a large, flat workspace or a large mixing bowl. Using the back end of a measuring cup, press down in the middle of the mound of flour to create a crater in the middle.

3 Cups of semolina flour.

Add 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the crater and gently mix with a fork.

Add 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Gently start pulling flour into the center mixture from the sides and mixing together. Use your hands after the liquid is used up to mix in all of the loose flour. You will mix for a while until you are left with a fairly smooth ball of dough. If you stick you finger in the middle, it should come back out clean and the dough should not be sticky. If it is sticky, add in a tablespoon of flour and repeat the mixing and finger test. Repeat until your finger passes the test.

Then, it’s kneading time. Wash and dry your hands and move the dough to a clean, flat work surface.

Using the palm of your hand, press into the center of the dough mound and press away from you. Fold the dough in half, and rotate it one quarter. Now repeat. So, again, press and mash the dough together, fold, and rotate (always rotate in the same direction so as not to undue your work).

Ready for your upper-body workout? Repeat this process for 5-10 minutes. Your dough is ready when it gets a leathery feel to it.

Next, you’ll roll it into thin sheets and cut it into 2-1/2 inch diameter circles.

First, cut the dough into smaller, manage-able slices. Then, roll this through the roller on a high (thick) setting. Fold it over on itself, and repeat. Repeat this process, gradually getting down to a very thin setting.

Roll the dough into sheets.

Next, cut out roughly 2-1/2-inch circles. You can use a cup or glass to create circles, much like creating shapes with cookie dough.

Next, you’ll add in the stuffed potatoes and mint. But first, you must prepare the filling.

Boil 1-1/2 pounds of potatoes for 20-25 minutes (or until soft enough to mash). With or without the skins, mash these together with several sprigs of mint leaves, several chopped garlic cloves, and some salt (all to your taste - we recommend lots of garlic and mint!).

Mashed potatoes with garlic and mint.

Put a small dollop of this stuffing into the center of your circular pasta pieces. Then, fold the circle over into a half moon shape, and press down the edges with your fingers or a fork to seal in the stuffing.

Stuffing the pasta.

Next, throw these into lightly salted, boiling water. They won’t need to cook for very long. They will float to the top when they are done.

Cook in boiling water.

Top them off with some pecorino cheese, and serve warm!

To really make this dish traditional, pair this Sardinian potato and mint-stuff pasta and with a glass of garnacha wine. We also recommend pairing the cooking time and meal with loved ones. The key to making the long cooking process enjoyable is sharing the time with friends and family, filling the kitchen with amazing smells along the way, and the delectable reward of a delicious, healthy meal for your hard work!

If you enjoy this recipe, try a recipe for Sardinian pizza or small Sardinian gnocchi with meat sauce. And if you’d like try some other healthy and delicious recipes from Ikaria, Greece, you won’t be disappointed!

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