Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food

Do you like Italian delicacies? Your answer is definitely yes; everyone loves Italian food! Have you ever tried the Malloreddus at home? You don’t have to go to an Italian restaurant to enjoy this delicious meal. With a simple Sardinian recipe, you can treat your entire family to a delicious homemade Malloreddus.

In this article, you’ll learn more about the Malloreddus, including its origin, how to make your own Gnocchettii Sardi and some simple but delicious recipes with Malloreddus. Read on to find out more.

Malloreddus, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian

Malloreddus also known as gnocchettii sardi (Sardinian gnocchi)

Malloreddus is classic pasta from Sardinia, which also goes by the name of Gnocchettii Sardi, which means “little Sardinian Gnocchi.” There are several versions explaining the genesis of the term. Some sources suggest that the word Malloreddus is derived from the Latin word mallolus, which means morsel or little bits.

Other sources state that the word malloreddu is a minuscule of malloru, which means “bull” in the Sardinian Campidanese language. The dialect is mainly found in Southern- and Central Southern Sardinia. As a result, Malloreddus means “vitelline” or “calves.” Because its shape looks like small potato gnocchi, the pasta is also known as “Sardinian gnocchi.”

Outdoor Italian Wedding, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian

The Malloreddus is the most prepared traditional dish in Sardinia for special occasions. You’ll find it served at weddings, local festivals, and during holidays. Perhaps the most exciting tradition of the Gnocchettii Sardi is that a new bride was expected to bring a basket of homemade Malloreddus to her new husband’s house, and they enjoyed the meal from the same plate.

The main ingredients are durum wheat semolina flour, water, and salt. You can buy the gnocchettii Sardi dried, which is industrially produced. However, if you enjoy spending time in your kitchen, you can make fresh ones at home. The homemade Sardinian gnocchi is more traditional. If you prefer to make them at home, the next section is for you.

How to make Malloreddus?

You can include a pinch of ground saffron in the dough to make your Homemade Gnocchi Sardi slightly yellow. Initially, the Sardinians hand-rolled the small dough pieces on a round reed basket to get the Malloreddus’ characteristic shape. 

These days, people use a small wooden board called the Malloreddus board, but it is slightly different from the gnocchi version.  

Uncooked gnocchetti Sardi, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian


The main ingredient is Semola di Grano Duro or Semolina flour. You’ll mix the flour with a small amount of oil, salt, and enough water to combine all the ingredients into a smooth dough. 

If you want your Malloreddus to be yellowish, add saffron. If you have saffron stamens, dissolve it in a tablespoon of water, or you can just use saffron powder. Traditionally, you’re supposed to eat a blend of the white and yellow Malloreddus. Here is what you’ll need to make Malloreddus for four people:

  • 2 ½ cups Semola di Grano Duro
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Water
  • 1 sachet of saffron powder


Traditionally the ridges on the Sardinian pasta were made using a wicker basket. Nowadays, you can use a gnocchi board, which is available in Italian shops or online stores.

Malloreddus board, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian


Mix the dough

Put the Semolina flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix it well. Add the extra virgin olive oil and stir well with a spoon. Make a small hole in the middle of the mixture and add water slowly until the flour comes together and forms a dough.

The amount of water you’ll use will depend on the type of flour you’re using and your environment’s humidity. Your dough should not be wet but a little sticky. In case your dough is wet, add some more flour.

Knead the dough

Put the dough into a wooden board and knead it for around ten minutes until it is silky. If you used the right amount of water in the previous step, you could knead the dough without adding extra flour on the board.

Knead the dough, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian

Add the saffron

If you’d like to add saffron to your dough, cut it into two equal portions. Wrap one half in cling film, put it back in the bowl, and cover it with a tea towel. Flatten the other half and sprinkle the saffron powder on it. Fold it and keep kneading for another five minutes until the yellow color is evenly distributed on the dough. Cover it in cling film and leave it to rest for an hour in a bowl.


Cut each piece of the dough into three equal parts. Use the palm of your hands to roll each piece into an elongated shape, resembling a sausage. The diameter of your rolls should be about 1/3 inch in diameter. 

Use a sharp knife to chop each piece into 1/6 inch long portions. Place one piece on your gnocchi board then use your thumb to squeeze the bit of pasta gently. After that, roll your thumb away from your body in the direction of the grooves.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully made your first Gnocchettii Sardi!

Shaping the dough, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian


Place your Malloreddus on a clean tea towel to dry. Make sure they don’t touch each other as they might stick. They’ll be dry after several hours. Once dried, you can cook them or freeze them for later use.


Boil 3 1/2 liters of water and add a tablespoon of salt. Add your gnocchettii sardi to the boiling water and cook until al dente. This is about 1 minute after they rise to the top. Now that your Malloreddus is cooked, read the following section to learn some recipes.  

Recipes with Malloreddus

You can serve your Malloreddus with various sauces. There are numerous recipes for this Sardinian pasta. Here are a few:

Sardinian Gnocchi – Malloreddus with sausage, tomatoes and saffron alla Campidanese

Malloreddus alla Campidanese, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian

This is a traditional Sardinian recipe for pasta and sausage. You can use this meal as the main course to serve four. Save 1 ½ hour of your time to prepare this meal.


  • 400g Malloreddus
  • 500g fresh pork sausage (seasoned with fennel)
  • 500g fresh tomatoes
  • 100g Pecorino cheese (grated)
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads or 1 sachet saffron powder
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
  • Salt according to taste(optional)
  • Black pepper to taste (optional)


  1. Thinly chop the onion and garlic. Remove the sausage from its casing and break it into small pieces. Peel the tomatoes and slice them into halves or quarters depending on their sizes. Split the basil leaves into smaller pieces. If you are using saffron threads, soak them in a small glass of warm water for around 30 minutes.
  2. Fry the thinly chopped onion and garlic in a little olive oil until the onion starts to soften. Add the sausage meat to the fried onion and garlic and brown it for five minutes.
  3. Add the chopped pieces of tomato, 2/3 of the basil, and the saffron and its water.
  4. Whisk the mixture well. Add salt and pepper (if you’re using) and turn the heat low. Simmer for about an hour.
  5. When the sauce is halfway done i.e. after 15 minutes, put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta. When the water starts boiling, add ½ teaspoon salt.
  6. Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the pasta al dente. Drain the pasta and spare some of the water for later.
  7. Mix the Malloreddus with the sauce and some grated Pecorino. If the sauce looks too dry, add some of the pasta cooking water and stir.
  8. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of chopped basil. Add some grated cheese as required.

Sardinian gnocchi with lamb

Sardinian gnocchi with lamb, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian

This Sardinian recipe will work well for your family and friends. It’s delicious and simple to prepare. You’ll need around 1 ½ hour to prepare this meal. The meal prepared here can serve four people.


  • 400g Malloreddus
  • 400g boneless shoulder- or leg of lamb
  • 400g fresh tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 thinly chopped carrots
  • 1-2 finely sliced celery stalks
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly chopped
  • 50g Pecorino Romano (grated)
  • ½ glass red or white wine
  • 3-4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt for pasta and to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ½ fresh Peperoncino (red chili pepper) optional
  • 2 ladles stock

Vegetable for broth, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian

For the broth

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Lamb bones


  1. Chop the lamb meat into small pieces, remove fat if necessary, and then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Chop the onion, carrot, and celery thinly and peel the garlic.
  3. Immerse the fresh tomatoes in boiling water for 2 minutes, then rinse and peel them. Slice the peeled tomatoes in halves and de-seed.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet. Add the bay leaves and garlic.
  5. When the garlic softens, add the Peperoncino if you’re using it, and the meat. Brown the lamb meat over high heat for about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the lamb meat from the pan and add the chopped onions, celery, and carrot. Add oil if necessary. When they start to soften, return the meat to the pan and mix them.
  7. Add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate then season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add the peeled tomatoes cut in half with seeds removed and the broth. Cook for around 1 hour on very low heat until the lamb is very tender. Occasionally stir and add more broth or water if the sauce seems dry.
  9. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water for the pasta. Add some salt when it starts to boil and bring it to the boil again.
  10. Cook the Malloreddus al dente as per the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Sprinkle over some of the grated Pecorino and mix everything. Serve immediately with extra Pecorino if need be.

Malloreddus dish, recipe, Malloreddus a Typical Sardinian Food - The Proud Italian


Everyone loves Italian delicacies. As the Christmas holiday approaches, you can add these great recipes to your menu. The Malloreddus’ are simple to prepare, and the recipes with them are simple too. Buon Appetito!