Culurgiones

Ravioli with a potato filling has a thousand variations. It grew from family tradition in central Sardinia to IGP recognition.

In Ogliastra, a wild geographic zone between the Gulf of Orosei and the Supramonte hills, pasta is culurgiones ogliastrini (or culugionis), the best known and loved specialty of the area.

Ingredients

Dough:
Unbleached, all-purpose white flour 14 oz/400 g
Salt pinch
Eggs 4

Filling:
Fresh spinach 2/3 lb/
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese 2 cups/ + for garnishing
Powdered saffron pinch
Ground nutmeg pinch
Eggs 2
Flour 1 tsp
Chopped fresh basil garnish
Butter 2 tbs

How to make Culurgiones

Prepare the pasta dough:
Sift the flour onto a work surface. Make a well in the center. Add the salt and BREAK in the eggs.
Using your hands or a fork, MIX the ingredients, drawing in flour from the sides.
KNEAD the dough until it is smooth and elastic, for about 10-15 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat all sides with oil. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Then, divide the dough into two balls. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface using either a floured ROLLING PIN or a PASTA MACHINE.
ROLL into thin sheets. Let the sheets rest for 20 minutes.

Prepare the cheese filling:
Wash the spinach and remove the stems. Fill a large pan with lightly-salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the spinach, covered, for a few minutes. Drain, refresh, SQUEEZE out any excess liquids, and finely CHOP it.
Combine the spinach with the cheese, eggs, flour, saffron, and nutmeg. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Prepare the ravioli:
Use a pastry cutter to cut circles 3 inches/ 7.5 cm round. PLACE a little of the filling to one side of the ring. Fold the other side of the ring over to form a half-moon. Seal the edges with moistened fingers.
Repeat until all the pasta sheets are used. Let the filled ravioli sit for 5 minutes before cooking them.
Bring plenty of lightly salted water to a boil. Boil the ravioli for 10 minutes in three or four batches. Drain and serve with chopped basil, grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, and butter.

Notes:
This is one of the few native pasta dishes of the region, as bread is the preferred starch. They are distinctive for their half-moon shape and the use of saffron in the filling.

Regional Recipe from Sardinia

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Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.