Malloreddus del Campidano (Semolina Dumplings with Saffron and Sausage Ragù)

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Italian Sausage Ragu

An authentic dish from the Italian island of Sardegna (Sardinia), this recipe features handmade, chewy semolina dumplings, savory sausage and salty Pecorino cheese. For a slight variation, the ragù can also be enjoyed over gnocchi. Serves 4-6.


Semolina Dumplings
2 c water
generous pinch saffron threads
2 c semolina flour
1 t kosher salt

Saffron and Sausage Ragù
1/4 c olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sm onion, diced
1 lb mild Italian sausage, crumbled
1 t fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1 c dry white wine, such as Orvieto
1, 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, diced
1/4 c fresh basil, torn into pieces
generous pinch saffron threads
1/2 c Pecorino Romano, freshly grated


Semolina Dumplings
In a small saucepan, combine water and saffron, then bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5-10 min until reduced to 3/4 c. Strain, reserving threads and saffron water, and let cool. Chop saffron threads.

In a wide, shallow bowl, combine semolina and kosher salt. Make a well in the center and add chopped saffron to the reduced saffron water. With a fork, gradually combine liquid and semolina until completely incorporated.

Knead dough, adding semolina as needed, until it no longer sticks to your hands. Roll out to create a 5” long log and cut into five equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long, 13-15” cylinder, approx. 3/4” thick. To create the swirled grooves, cut each cylinder into 1/2” slices, press each piece into the back of a fork, and gently roll down with your finger. Transfer to a floured pan.

Saffron and Sausage Ragù
Heat olive oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 1 min. Add sausage and brown approx. 5 min. Add thyme, bay leaf and wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Mix in tomatoes, basil, saffron and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 min.

To assemble, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well. Add dumplings and cook until al dente, approx. 5-8 min. Drain well, add to the pan with the sausage ragù, top with grated cheese and toss to combine. Serve immediately.