Gnochetti sardi is a Sardinian pasta shape which is shaped like gnocchi but made of durum wheat semolina and no eggs. It is a staple in Sardinia and usually prepared with a heavy tomato based ragù or sauce made with beef, lamb or sausage. The ragù clings to the heavy ridged pasta shape.
If you can’t find gnochetti sardi then another short pasta shape, like penne, will do. This will serve 4 as a main course but stretches to many more as a first course which is how we like to serve it.
Sardinian Pasta with Sausage and Tomato Sauce – to serve 4
- 500g bag of gnocchetti sardi pasta
- 15g dried porcini
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- ½ tsp crushed dried chillies
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 350g Italian sausages or other meaty pork sausages
- 120 ml dry white wine
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- Pecorino or Parmesan to serve
Soak the porcini mushrooms in 100ml of boiling water for about 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and chop but don’t throw away the soaking liquid as you’ll need it later.
Bring a really large pan of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, skin the sausages and break the meat up into little pieces.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion, garlic, chilies and fennel seeds and fry gently until nicely coloured.
Add the sausagemeat and mushrooms and continue to fry for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and bubble for a couple of minutes to reduce, then add the tomatoes and mushroom soaking liquid. Season well with salt and pepper. Leave the sauce to simmer for about half an hour.
Cook the pasta according to the pack, then drain and add to the sauce. Pass around the cheese and let people help themselves.
Drink with: the Sardinian red wines would work a treat, especially the ones made from Cannonau or Carignano. These two grape varieties are better known as Grenache and Carignan, so if there are no Sardinian gems in the local, find something made from these grapes and you’ll have a match.