Fried Sweet Ricotta Ravioli (Culurgioneddus Di Arrescottu)
This platter of cookies was the perfect ending to a fabulous meal at Agriturismo Sa Marighedda on our recent trip to Sardinia (recipe at the end of the post). If you don’t know what an agriturismo is, let me explain. It’s sometimes a place to stay where the owners live, often on a working farm. It’s sometimes a place where the owners invite the public in for a meal using products grown or raised on site.
In this case, it was a restaurant next door to the owner’s home, and everything was homemade, from the cured meats, to the wine and liqueurs and everything in between. They offer a multi-course meal for a grand total of about 30 euros, or about $40.00 U.S. per person – a real bargain, especially considering the quality of the food and they even offer seconds of all the courses — if you have room in your stomach.
The owners, Mara and Roberto, work hard to deliver an authentic Sardinian meal and make you feel like you’re sitting down to Sunday pranzo at their home. That is, if you’re in the habit of eating what seemed like non-stop courses – all of which were delicious. Families are most welcome here, and there’s even a playground for children who might feel a lightly antsy sitting at a table for two or three hours.
We were seated and immediately served a platter of homemade affettati (cured meats), olives and wine – all made in house and all wonderful.
Next came a frittata-like course, with zucchini dotting the egg and cheese mixture.
Then came savory pockets filled with seasoned raw tomatoes. Think of tomato bruschetta, but with a flaky pastry dough instead of toasted bread.
We moved on to primo piatto, or in this case, primi piatti, since there were two first courses — one of malloreddus with sausage (see my last blog post here for the recipe),
And another of culurgiones, a typical Sardinian pasta similar to a fat ravioli, but filled with potatoes, pecorino cheese and mint.
We could easily have eaten seconds on any of these foods, but we knew there was still plenty to come, including the main event — roast suckling pig — cooked on an open spit.
Sardinia is surrounded by water and we ate fish nearly every night, but the interior of the island especially, is known for its delicious roast pig, and we were not disappointed in this juicy and flavorful rendition.
Before the main dessert arrived, we were presented with these small and juicy plums. They were just the right palate cleanser before moving to sweeter offerings.
I also wanted to show you these breads that are also traditional Sardinian shapes, using scissors and other implements to cut the dough.
Here are some of the implements Mara uses to make the breads and the cookies:
Aren’t they lovely with those scalloped, fringed edges? After they’re shaped, they get deep-fried and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
But we still weren’t finished after the cookie assortment. There was mirto (homemade blueberry liqueur) and grappa to taste. Fortunately, we didn’t have far to drive to get back to our hotel, after this abundant feast.
Thank you Mara and Roberto for your hospitality and the authentic flavor of Sardinian cuisine.
Mara was kind enough to give me her recipe for the ricotta ravioli (called culurgioneddus de arrescottu in Sardinian dialect) and you’ll find it below:
- For the Filling:
- 2.2 lbs.(1 kilo) ricotta (preferably sheep's milk)
- 1 whole egg and one egg yolk
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 1 pinch of saffron (one of those waxed sleeves you buy in Italian grocery stores)
- grated rind of two lemons, preferably organic
- For the dough:
- 5½ cups 00 flour (700 grams)
- 2¼ cups (300 grams) semolina flour
- water, as needed
- ½ cup sugar (100 grams)
- 1 cup lard or vegetable shortening - (200 grams)
- confectioner's sugar or honey, to finish
- Mix all the ingredients for the filling well until it is creamy, then set aside as you prepare the dough.
- Mix the 00 flour, semolina, sugar and lard (or shortening) together, and add just enough water until it comes together in a ball.
- Roll out the dough thinly, add some of the filling along a row of the dough, closing with another layer of dough, and cutting it out with a ravioli cutter.
- Fry the ravioli in hot oil, drain on paper towels, and when cool, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, or drizzle with honey.