This takes inspiration from the island of Sardinia - the lovely soft, supple pasta dough is easy to make, and the filling is a great combination of cheese and potato.
- 2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 cups semolina
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- 1¼ cup (300 ml) water, plus more if needed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) white or red potatoes, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ cup (125 ml) olive oil
- 450 g (16 oz) fresh pecorino sardo, grated (or substitute with gruyère)
- ½ cup mint, finely chopped
- 1½ tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 eschallot (shallot), minced
- 2 cups (500 ml) passata
- Handful mint leaves
- Fresh pecorino sardo (or substitute with gruyère)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: 30 minutes
1. To make the pasta, mix together the flour, semolina and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, then fill with olive oil, water and egg. Pull the flour mixture in from the sides to combine with the water and oil. Once combined, remove the dough to a cutting board and knead until smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
2. To make the filling, boil the potatoes in water until soft (about 35 minutes). Once soft, drain and mash the potatoes. Set aside to cool.
3. Put the crushed garlic and olive oil in a pan and heat over medium-low. Fry the garlic for a few minutes, infusing the oil with its flavour – make sure not to let the cloves burn or get too dark. Remove the garlic from the oil and discard. Pour the garlic-infused olive oil into the mashed potatoes, along with the pecorino and mint. Stir well to combine.
4. To combine, on a cutting board lightly dusted with flour, roll out the dough to a thickness of approximately 1 mm. Using a cookie cutter, or the rim of a glass 10 cm in diameter, cut out rounds of pasta. Toss out the excess dough.
5. Put a round of dough in your palm, then scoop out a hazelnut-sized lump of filling and put it in the centre of the round. Fold the two sides up so that it looks like you are holding a miniature taco, with your thumb holding one side and the rest of your fingers holding the other with the filling facing up. Using your free hand, pat the filling down a little, then, starting at one end of the round, pinch the edges of the dough together. Now pull one side of the dough behind the other, then pull the other side over that side, as if you are pleating the dough. Repeat until you have worked your way down the length of the dough, creating a stitch pattern. Once you arrive at the end, firmly pinch the end closed. As you work your way along the dough, some filling may squeeze out of the top, which you can simply remove and put back in the bowl with the rest of the filling. Repeat until you have made all your culurgiones.
6. In a large pot, bring salted water to a rolling boil.
7. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the garlic and shallot and fry just until fragrant. Add the passata and cook over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
8. To finish, add the culurgiones to the boiling water, making sure not to overcrowd the pot – you may need to work in batches. When the pastas rise to the surface of the water, they’re done. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a plate.
9. When all the pasta is cooked, ladle an equal amount of tomato sauce into shallow serving bowls to create a bed of sauce for the culurgiones, reserving some sauce to spoon over top. Divide the culurgiones evenly amongst the bowls, then spoon the remaining sauce over top.
10. Garnish with mint, and sprinkle generously with pecorino. Serve immediately.