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For a true taste of Sardinian cooking, you can’t get better than this culurgiones recipe. A simple pasta dough is stuffed with potato, pecorino and mint, before being shaped into ears of wheat and briefly boiled. Serve with a simple tomato sauce for a fantastic Italian main.

First published in 2018

Culurgiones (or culurgionis) are a unique type of stuffed pasta originally from the Ogliastra, a mountainous area on the Eastern side of Sardinia. Similar to dumplings, they are traditionally stuffed with a creamy potato filling flavoured with pecorino and fresh mint and seasoned with a plain and simple tomato sauce that enhances the flavour of the filling.

The most challenging bit in the making of culurgiones is definitely the shaping: They are meant to look like a wheat spike, with the top part folded in as it were a braid. If this step is looking too complex, worry not! Just close them as well as you can, or as you would a dumpling; they’ll taste just as good.




Culurgiones filling

  • 500g of floury potatoes
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 70g of Pecorino Sardo, grated
  • 8 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 150g of plain flour
  • 100g of semolina flour
  • 1 pinch of fine sea salt
  • 145g of water
  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Tomato sauce

  • 300g of passata
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

To garnish


  • 8cm cutter


Place the potatoes in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes feel tender all the way through when pierced with a fork. Drain, peel, place in a bowl and mash with a fork or a masher while still hot
While the potatoes are cooking, put the garlic in the oil and leave it to infuse. Next, discard the garlic and add the infused oil to the mashed potatoes. Add the grated pecorino, mint and a generous dash of salt and stir to combine. Wrap with cling film and place in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour
Make a dough by combining the flour, semolina and the salt with water and oil. Knead until you have an elastic, smooth ball. Wrap it in cling film and allow it to rest for 30 minutes
While the dough and filling are resting, prepare the sauce. Place the oil and the garlic in a medium saucepan set over a medium heat. Add the passata and 60ml water, cover and allow the sauce to cook for 30 minutes, stirring often. Taste and season
Remove the filling from the fridge. Unwrap the dough and roll it out over a well-floured working surface to about 1mm thickness. (You can use a pasta machine, too.) Cut out 8cm rounds of dough. Place a knob of filling at the centre of each round, then pinch and fold the base to seal it on one side. Keep pinching and folding the extremities to seal the top of the dumpling, working as you would a braid, first on one side and then on the other, until you’ve reached the other side. Place the finished culurgiones on a floured tray while you work
Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil. Working in batches, cook the culurgiones in batches for 4 minutes, or for 2 minutes from when the come back afloat. Drain them with a slotted spoon and ease them on warmed-up plates over a bed of tomato sauce. Serve right away with roughly torn basil leaves

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