The Distinctive Pasta Shapes of Sardinia
Culinarily speaking, Sardinia is probably best known stateside for its Moorish-inflected seafood dishes and volcanic wines. But this Mediterranean island also has several unique pasta styles — many of which are still relatively obscure beyond its shores.
That's why specialty-food company Bona Furtuna, which focuses on indigenous varieties and heritage foodways, has partnered with Sardinian producer Pastificio Pais for a limited-edition set of three labor-intensive shapes. Each is handmade from Karalis, a natural hybrid Sardinian wheat, and is best enjoyed with plenty of Pecorino Sardo.
This twisted pasta is produced mostly in Usini, a town in northern Sardinia that holds a festival in its honor each summer. The corkscrew shape, made by folding dough four times around a reed or dowel, is ideal for holding on to the sauce it's traditionally served with, the mixed-meat ragù su ghisadu.
These oblong braided loops — "iron rings" in Sardinian — hail from Morgongiori, on the southern slopes of the Monte Arci massif. They were historically prepared on All Saints' Day, when kids were taught to fear Maria Pungi Pungi: the witch who would pierce the stomach of any child who ate too many!
Sardinia's answer to gnocchi, these compact, ridged dumplings are traditional wedding fare in the northwestern town of Ittiri. They're often served with a lamb sauce fragrant with herbs — a common accompaniment on an island where sheep outnumber people two to one.
To buy: bonafurtuna.com, $75.