On the East coast of the breathtaking Italian island of Sardinia, in the region of Ogliastra, Culurgiones are just one of the many regional, mouthwatering treasures. Meticulously shaped and proudly stitched by the skilled hands of the older women sitting around the kitchen table, the ancient tradition of forming Culurgiones is proudly passed down to the watchful eyes of the younger generation. Dating as far back as the Middle Ages, Culurgiones have been traditionally prepared for special festivities and Sunday meals. A potato filling mixed with Pecorino Sardo cheese, and fresh mint leaves is then placed on a dough disk, and skillfully stitched together with rhythmic small pinches, thus creating a beautiful masterpiece resembling a wheat stalk. Do you want to make Culurgiones? Let's get started!
800 grams yellow potatoes - only peel them after boiling
80 grams olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced through the zester
18 mint leaves
Small bunch of finely chopped parsley
200 grams Pecorino cheese or sheep cheese (not Pecorino Romano)
100 grams Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt to taste
Boil the potatoes until fork tender.
While the potatoes are boiling, make the pasta dough by mixing the flour and salt together. Make a well in the center of the flour with your hand, and add the oil and very warm water.
Mix everything together until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated with the wet. Knead the dough for a good 10-15 minutes if kneading by hand, or 10 minutes on medium/high speed if mixing in the stand mixer. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes half way through mixing time.
Once the dough is smooth, cover it in plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. If letting the dough rest overnight, place in the refrigerator. The dough will have to return to ambient temperature when ready to use.
Prepare the filling while the dough is resting.
Drain the potatoes and remove the skin. Place each potato into a potato ricer and press them directly into a large mixing bowl.
After all the potatoes have been riced, add the olive oil and minced garlic. Mix together and set aside.
Finely mince the mint leaves and parsley and add these to the potatoes.
Mix the grated Pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano in with the potato mixture. Set aside to completely cool. It is best when the potato filling is left in the refrigerator overnight. This allows the flavors to really penetrate the potatoes and makes it easier when it is time to fill the Culurgiones.
Cut off a small portion of dough about the size of an egg. With the pasta attachment, place the dough through the opening, beginning with the largest setting, number 1. Fold it over itself and put it through once again through the same setting. Folding is only necessary when the dough goes through setting number 1.
Turn the setting to the second thickness. Continue putting the sheet of pasta through until you reach setting number 4. After placing the dough through setting number 5 we realized it was a bit too thin. 4 was a good thickness to work with.
Place the long strips of dough on a clean work surface lightly dusted with flour. With a round mold, cookie cutter or wine glass, begin to cut disks on the entire surface of the stretched dough. Remove the excess dough and place it back into the plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
Pick up a small disk of dough and place about a walnut size of the filling onto the round dough.
Fold the dough up over the filling as you would with a taco. While holding it with one hand, press the filling down into the center with the index finger of the other hand, as shown in the video. With the help of the index finger and thumb of the opposite hand, begin pinching one end of the dough at the extremity where it was just folded.
Once pinched, push the dough slightly toward the center of the "taco" and pinch first the left loose flap of dough and then the right flap of dough. Once again press into the center and continue pinching each loose flap of dough left and right, until the entire package is completely sealed.
Any excess dough will be pushed out and will once again be placed in the bowl.
At the very end, pinch and roll the final little point making sure it is fully sealed.
Place the shaped Culurgiones on a floured surface or tray until it is time to boil them. Culurgiones can also be easily frozen by first placing them in the freezer on a tray. When completely frozen they can be transferred into a well sealed freezer bag.
To cook Culurgiones simply bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Transfer the Culurgiones into the water where they will boil until they come to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon and serve them with a simple Pomarola. Enjoy!