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Homemade Gnocchetti Pasta (Malloreddus or Gnocchetti Sardi)

Homemade gnocchetti pasta, is a delicious shell shaped pasta that is perfect for holding your favorite sauce. Gnocchetti are so easy to make that even a novice pasta maker can impress family and friends with this homemade pasta recipe.

Gnocchetti Sardi, also known as malloreddus, is a traditional pasta shape originating from the Italian island of Sardinia. Outside of Sardinia they are commonly called gnocchetti because they look very much like “little gnocchi”.

Raw small homemade gnocchi shaped pasta on a cookie sheet.

Unlike gnocchi or sweet potato gnocchi, which are made of potatoes, malloreddus are made from semolina flour and water. Saffron may also be added to the dough to give the pasta a yellowish hue.

In Sardinia, Gnocchetti are often served for special occasions or Sunday family dinners. They are typically served with tomato-based meat sauces, but can also be enjoyed with a variety of sauces, such as creamy cheese or pesto sauce. The ridged surface of these little Gnocchetti Sardi are perfect for Tomato Basil, Vodka Sauce with Italian Sausage, Short Rib Ragu, Bolognese or even my cheesy Broccoli Sauce.

You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make this homemade pasta. If you have kids around they will love helping to create the fun curled gnocchetti. Don’t worry if they shapes are not all perfectly the same, it will still taste delicious!

A bag of Caputo brand semolina flour on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredients You Need To Make The Pasta Dough

  • Semolina Flour: Make sure use semolina that has been finely ground or double ground. This will make a difference in the texture of the dough.
  • Hot Water: I prefer using hot water because it makes the dough more pliable and easier to knead but you could use room temperature water to make this pasta.
4 photos: the first is water being poured into flour, the second is forming the dough, the third is kneading teh dough by hand and the fourth is a ball of dough.

How To Make The Pasta Dough

  1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl or in a mound on a clean work surface and make a well in the middle of the flour.
  2. Pour the hot water into the well and mix with a fork pulling in the flour from the sides of the well until it starts to form a rough dough.
  3. If you are using a bowl, pour the dough and flour out on to your work surface and use your hands to start to work any loose flour into the dough. This may take a minute or two of pressing the loose flour into the dough. If you find that it is too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it starts to hold together. The dough should not feel wet.
  4. Use the heel of your hand to knead the dough. Press the heel of your hand down on the dough and away from you, rotate the dough and repeat this kneading process for about 10 minutes. The dough should feel smooth and have some elasticity.
  5. Warp the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4 photos: the first is cutting dough into small pieces, the second is forming gnocchi on a ribbed wooden board, the third is using the back of a fork to form ridges on the dough and the fourth is finished gnocchetti on a cookie sheet.

How To Form The Gnocchetti

To achieve the ridged curved shell shape you will need either a fork or a wooden gnocchi board.

  1. Unwrap the dough and cut it into eight equal pieces. Work with one piece of dough at a time and keep the remaining dough covered in plastic wrap so that it does not dry out.
  2. Using both hands roll the dough into a 1/2″ thick log and cut the log into 1/2″ pieces.
  3. Place one piece of pasta dough on the board or on the tines of the back of a fork.
  4. Use the side of your thumb to press firmly down on the pasta and away from you. This will cause the dough to curl and create the ridges on the outer surface of the pasta. Place your gnocchetti on a baking sheet that has been dusted with semolina flour. The flour will keep them from sticking together.
  5. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough. The homemade pasta can be left at room temperature to dry until you are ready to cook it.

Tips

If the dough is too dry and is not coming together to form a ball, you can add a little more water 1 teaspoon at a time.

It is easiest to roll the pasta on a wooden surface.  The pasta is smooth after resting and does not have a lot of traction on a smooth surface like granite or marble.  

A bowl of shell shaped pasta with broccoli sauce and topped with grated cheese.

How To Cook Gnocchetti Pasta

To cook these little Sardinian gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Place the pasta in the water and cook for about 5 minutes. Cooking times may vary by 2-3 minutes. The pasta will float to the top of the pan when it is done. Cook the gnocchetti to al dente and then finish it in your favorite pasta sauce. This type of pasta should have a chewy texture.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, top it with the sauce of your choice and enjoy your delicious pasta. Buon Appetito!

Storing and Freezing Instructions

If you don’t plan on cooking your homemade pasta right away, you can cover the cookie sheet with holding your fresh pasta with plastic wrap and store it in a cool dry place for up to 2 days.

If you need to store it longer then that I would suggest you freeze it. To freeze your homemade pasta, it is best to lay it out on a cookie sheet and dust it with semolina flour. Then place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once the pasta is completely frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag and return it to the freezer. This will make sure that the gnocchetti do not stick together.

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A cookie sheet with raw homemade shell shaped pasta.

Gnocchetti Pasta (Malloreddus or Gnocchetti Sardi)

This short gnocchi shaped pasta from the island of Sardinia is perfect for holding your favorite sauce. Simple delicious and easy to make. Make fresh pasta with only two ingredients.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Course Main Course, Primo
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 202 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Wooden Gnocchi Board or a fork

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Semolina flour finely ground
  • 3/4 cups Water hot

Instructions
 

  • Place the semolina flour on a work surface or in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the hot water into the well. Using a fork start to blend the water into the flour by stirring the water into the sides of the well, gathering the flour in as you stir. Once the water is absorbed, use your hands to gather the remaining flour and work the dough into a ball. Then knead the dough for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Wrap it in plastic wrap and set it aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep the remaining dough covered in the plastic wrap so it does not dry out.
  • Roll each piece of dough into logs that are ½" wide. Cut the log into pieces that are ½" long.
  • Place one piece of dough on the back of a fork or on a wooden gnocchi board, then using the side of your thumb, press down and roll the dough along the ridges causing the pasta to curl. Repeat this with the remaining dough. Place the completed pasta on a cookie sheet as you go and sprinkle it with semolina four to keep it from sticking together.
  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for about 5 minutes. The pasta will float to the top when it is done. The pasta should have a chewy texture when done.

Notes

Cooks Tip:
If the dough is too dry and is not coming together to form a ball, you can add a little more water 1 teaspoon at a time.
It is easiest to roll the pasta on a wooden surface.  The pasta is smooth after resting and does not have a lot of traction on a smooth surface like granite or marble.  
Cook the pasta to al dente.  It should have a chewy texture when done.  Then add it to a pan with your sauce.  As you coat the pasta in the hot sauce it will cook for a minute or two longer.  

Nutrition

Serving: 6servingsCalories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 7gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 104mgFiber: 2gCalcium: 10mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Flour, pasta,
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