Homemade Sardinian Gnocchi (malloreddus) in Lamb Broth.
This homemade Sardinian gnocchi (malloreddus) cooked in lamb broth is a traditional recipe from the island of Sardinia. Typically, this would be a 2 in 1 recipe in which the meat and potatoes are served separately to the pasta and broth. However, it is great eaten as a hearty and filling one plate meal too. Of course, you can use other pasta instead of making your own.
For the Sardinian gnocchi
- 250 g Semolina flour (9oz)
- 100 ml warm water (3.3oz)
- 2 g salt (0.5 tsp)
For the lamb broth
- 1 kg meaty lamb neck bones (2.2lbs) or leg or shoulder joints or boneless shoulder/leg meat or shanks
- 2 carrots washed and cut into pieces
- 2 celery stalks washed and sliced
- 1 onion peeled and sliced
- 4 potatoes peeled and halved ( I used unpeeled new potatoes)
- 1 handful fresh parsley washed and chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary washed and chopped or thyme or basil
- 2-3 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- salt to taste
- 60 g Pecorino Sardo or Pecorino Romano (2oz) freshly grated
Start the lamb broth
Cut the meat into chunks if needed. Peel and slice the onion, wash and chop the carrots and celery, peel the potatoes and put them in a bowl of water until ready to use them. Wash the herbs. Cut the drained sun-dried tomatoes in half.
Put the lamb, herbs and veggies (not the potatoes) into a deep pot and add enough cold water to just cover everything. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about 1-1.5 hours. Check occasionally if you need to skim any fat from the top.
Make the Sardinian gnocchi (malloreddus)
Sift the flour into a mound on a pastry board and form a well in the middle. Dissolve the salt in the warm water and then add the water a little at a time to the centre of the well. Using a fork or scraper, slowly start to incorporate the water into the flour to form a rough dough. Add a little more water if the dough is too dry or a dusting of flour if it is too wet. (You can do this first part in a bowl)
Knead the dough until it springs back when you press a finger into it, about 10 minutes. It should be quite smooth and pliable and not tacky. Roll the dough into a ball, wrapi it in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes.
Cut off a piece of the dough and roll it into a 1-2cm-thick snake (.4-.7 of an inch). Cut the snake into 1-2cm pieces. Press one piece of dough at a time firmly with your thumb against a gnocchi board or the back tines of a fork and roll the dough down the board to create a shell shape with ridges. Continue with the remaining dough, dusting the pasta and board with semolina flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Place your ready Sardinian gnocchi on a floured tray or tea towel until you are ready to use them.
Finish the broth and cook the pasta.
Add the potatoes and some salt to the broth and continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes until the meat falls off the bone and the potatoes are cooked. If the meat isn’t soft enough, remove the potatoes and continue cooking a bit longer.
Once the meat is ready, remove it and the potatoes from the broth. If necessary, remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Bring the broth to a boil again and add your malloreddus. Fresh pasta doesn’t take so long to cook (5-10 minutes) but it depends on how thick/big it is. Test taste before turning off the heat.
Put some of the shredded lamb meat into individual bowls and add some pasta, veggies and broth. Top with a generous sprinkling of grated pecorino and serve immediately.
Serve the rest of the meat and potatoes as a main course or a separate meal the following day.
You can use dried malloreddus or other small pasta shapes instead of making your own Sardinian gnocchi. In Sardinia, they also use fregola in this recipe.
Nutrition and calories can be divided into 2 dishes per person.