MALLOREDUS WITH ARTICHOKES AND SALSICCIA DI MIRTO

The cooking of Sardegna is mysterious and even counterintuitive on many levels for a peninsula-trained cook like myself. The first time I visited, the only dish I remember eating was grilled meat that had been stuffed inside a pig’s bladder, and a whole lot of really good bread and cheese. The second time, I was in Olbia at one of the great restaurants of Italy, Ristorante Gallura, which in itself merits a trip, where I had these saffron cavatelli cousins. Malloreddus are classic to the cooking of Sardegna but rarely spotted in American restaurants.

 

Instructions:

 

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.

 

Meanwhile, in a 10 to 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until smoking. Add the scallions and garlic and sauté until light golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and brown and render fat out. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of fat and add the tomato sauce, fennel seeds, myrtle berries, red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce resembles a ragu, about 30 minutes. Add artichokes just before adding the cooked pasta top the sauce

 

Cook the malloreddus in the boiling water until tender, 6 to 8 minutes and drain.

 

Toss the pasta into the pan with the sausage. Toss until well coated. And sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately.