Sardinian Pasta with Sausage and Tomato Sauce
Sardinia has many specialities which are quite different from the rest of Italy. Most dishes are of peasant origin, and they demonstrate how poor people managed to satisfy their dietary needs using only combinations of humble ingredients, but which resulted in wonderful flavours. Sardinian dishes are now enjoying a well-deserved renaissance.
- 400g (14 oz) Sardinian gnocchetti
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 300g (10 1/2 oz) fresh Italian sausage (luganega), meat removed from the casing, crumbled
- 35g (1/4 oz) dried porcini, soaked for half an hour, then finely chopped (keep the liquid)
- 3 tbsp dry white wine
- 600g (1 lb 5 oz) polpa di pomodoro (crushed tomatoes)
- Gnocchetti are rather chunky pasta shapes - concave with a ribbed back - made with pure durum wheat semolina, and they take rather longer to cook than normal pasta. They are also known as 'malloreddus'.
- For the sauce, heat the oil in a casserole, add the onion, and let it cook for five minutes over a moderate heat until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before adding the sausage and porcini. Allow to brown, stirring, then pour in the wine and the tomato pulp. Leave to cook over a very low heat for about an hour. If more moisture is needed, add a little of the mushroom soaking liquid. When ready season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, about 10 - 12 minutes.
- Mix the pasta with the sauce and serve immediately. If you like, you could add some freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino, but I prefer it without. The sauce, if you leave the sausage in larger chunks, could also be served with polenta.