Malloreddus alla Campidanese (Sardinian Pasta with Sausage)

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Malloreddus alla Campidanese is a traditional Sardinian pasta dish made with small, gnocchi-like pasta called malloreddus, cooked in an Italian sausage and tomato sauce. It is a true comfort meal for any Sardinian (like myself)! I hope you love this family recipe.

Serve with- homemade focaccia bread and a simple salad. And for dessert, you can also pair it with Sardinian Pardulas!

Malloreddus alla Campidanese (Sardinian Pasta with Sausage)in a bowl with a fork ready to eat. Side of Sardinian flat bread.
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Malloreddus alla Campidanese (Gnochetti Sardi)

On every restaurant menu in Sardegna, you will see “Malloreddus alla Campidansese”. I grew up eating this simple sausage sauce with little Sardinian gnocchi; my children love it too! Gnochetti Sardi are one of those beloved types of pasta that is specific to my region of southern Sardinia.

This special meal takes me home to the Mediterranean Sea- sharing meals with my family around a big table! I hope you love our family capidansese recipe as much as we do. Make it for special occasions, Sunday supper, or weeknight dinner.

Simple Ingredients

ingredient shot for recipe.
  • Malloreddus pasta (sardinian gnocchetti): A type of small, gnocchi-like pasta traditionally used in Sardinian cuisine. It is made with semolina flour and water and has a slightly chewy texture that is great for absorbing the flavors of the sauce. These are different than homemade potato gnocchi that you make and roll on a gnocchi board- although those would be great with this sauce!
  • Canned tomatoes or Tomato Puree: The base of the tomato sauce gives the dish its signature flavor.
  • Sardinian sausage or Italian sausage: A spicy, coarsely ground pork sausage that is traditional in Sardinia. It is the main protein component of the dish and provides a lot of flavor to the sauce.
  • Onion: A staple ingredient in many savory dishes, onion adds flavor and aroma to the sauce.
  • Extra Vigin Olive oil: Used to sauté the onions and to cook the sausage, olive oil provides a healthy source of fat and adds a rich flavor to the sauce.
  • Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Sardo cheese: A salty, hard cheese from sheep’s milk grated over the finished dish. It adds a sharp, tangy flavor and a creamy texture to the sauce. You can also use parmesan or parmigiano cheese.
  • Salt: Used to season the dish and enhance the flavors of the other ingredients and for the pasta water.
  • Fresh Basil leaves: Used as a garnish and in the sauce, fresh basil adds a bright flavor and a pop of color to the finished dish.
  • Saffron: Optional. A spice often used in Italian cuisine can be added to Malloreddus alla Campidanese to give it an extra layer of flavor. Saffron is derived from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus flower and has a unique flavor and aroma. It can be added to the tomato sauce while simmering to infuse the dish with its distinctive flavor and vibrant yellow color.

See recipe card for quantities.

Sardinian Gnocchi- Malloreddus with Sausage Sauce

Malloreddus, also known as Sardinian gnocchetti, are one of Sardinia’s most well-known and beloved types of pasta.

Among the various recipes using Sardinian gnocchetti, malloreddus alla campidanese is typical of the Campidano area. It is a wonderfully rich dish that pairs malloreddus with cheese and sausage sauce.

More pasta dishes you will love- Sausage Meatballs Recipe and Stuffed Pasta Shells with Ricotta and Sausage.

How to Make Malloreddus alla Campidanese (Sardinian Pasta with Sausage)

This recipe is super easy and flavorful. The saffron adds a special Sardinian touch!

How to Store Leftovers

If you have leftover Malloreddus alla Campidanese, you can store it in the refrigerator or freezer to enjoy later. Here’s how:

  1. Let the pasta cool down to room temperature before storing it.
  2. Transfer the pasta to an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Press out any excess air to prevent the pasta from drying out or developing freezer burn.
  3. Store the pasta in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  4. To reheat the pasta, you can microwave it or warm it up in a pan on the stove with a little water or sauce. Add a splash of olive oil to the pan to prevent the pasta from sticking.

Note that reheating the pasta may become slightly softer, and the sauce may be absorbed more, so you may need to adjust the seasoning and add a bit more sauce or liquid to achieve the desired consistency.

Top tips

Here are some top tips for making Malloreddus alla Campidanese:

  • Use authentic Sardinian malloreddus pasta if possible, as this will give the dish an authentic flavor and texture. If you can’t find malloreddus, you can substitute with other small, short pasta shapes like penne, fusilli or rigatoni.
  • Brown the sausage well before adding the tomatoes to the pan. This will help to develop the flavor of the sausage and give the sauce a richer, meatier flavor.
  • Use good quality canned tomatoes if fresh tomatoes are not in season. Look for brands that use San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, which have a sweeter, less acidic flavor than other types of canned tomatoes.
  • If you want to add saffron to the sauce, soak it in a small amount of warm water before adding it to the pan. This will help to release the flavor and color of the saffron into the sauce.
  • Reserve some of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. This starchy water can be added to the sauce to help it coat the pasta more evenly and create a silky texture.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta – malloreddus only takes a few minutes to cook, and you want to avoid it becoming mushy. Follow the instructions on the package and taste the pasta for doneness before draining.
  • Serve the dish hot, garnished with fresh basil and grated pecorino romano cheese for an authentic touch.

FAQs

Can I use a different type of sausage?

While Sardinian sausage is traditional for this dish, you can substitute other types of spicy pork sausage or mild pork sausage.

Origins of Malloreddus alla Campidanese

Malloreddus alla Campidanese is a traditional pasta dish originating from the island of Sardinia, an Italian region in the Mediterranean Sea.
Specifically, the dish is typical of the southern part of Sardinia, in the Campidano area, from which it takes its name. Malloreddus are a type of small, gnocchi-like pasta made from semolina flour and water, which are similar in shape to cavatelli. The sauce for Malloreddus alla Campidanese typically includes Sardinian sausage, tomatoes, onion, saffron, and pecorino cheese, giving the dish a rich and savory flavor that is characteristic of the island’s cuisine.

Can I use a different type of pasta if I can’t find malloreddus?

Yes, you can substitute small, short pasta shapes like penne, fusilli, or rigatoni for malloreddus.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

What to Serve with Malloreddus alla Campidanese (Sardinian Pasta with Sausage)

These are my favorite dishes to serve with Malloreddus alla Campidanese:

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

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Malloreddus alla Campidanese (Sardinian Pasta with Sausage)

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Malloreddus alla Campidanese is a traditional Sardinian pasta dish made with small, gnocchi-like pasta called malloreddus, cooked in an Italian sausage and tomato sauce. It is a true comfort meal for any Sardinian (like myself)! I hope you love our family recipe. 

  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 400 grams Sardinian Malloreddus or Gnocchetti Sardi
  • 1 lb Fresh Italian sausage- ground pork sausage meat (ideally with fennel seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb can high quality crushed tomato sauce or puree
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand
  • a pinch of ground saffron (optional)
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino sardo cheese or parmigiano cheese, for serving
  • Kosher salt for pasta water

Instructions

  1. If using saffron- Add the saffron to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Let sit until ready to use. 
  2. In a large saucepan or sauté pan, on medium heat, add onion, and cook in olive oil for 1-2 minutes until translucent, then add the sausage meat and bay leaf. Cook for 10 minutes breaking up the sausage and letting it brown, stirring frequently. 
  3. Add the tomato puree and saffron (if using) to the sausage sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the fresh basil and stir to combine. 
  4. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the malloreddus until al dente according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain the malloreddus, put them in the pan with the sauce, and mix until combined. 
  5. Add grated pecorino romano cheese to the pasta and stir until it is well incorporated. Serve hot. Add additional grated cheese if desired. Buon appetito!
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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9 Comments

  1. This recipe was so easy to make and so good! My son said “This is delicious!” Thanks for all of your recipes and keeping our traditions and culture alive! I love the videos on instagram of your childhood home in Sardegna. So beautiful, calming and peaceful.






    1. Hi Laura! Thank you for your sweet message. It’s my pleasure to keep these traditions alive. All the best, Elena.

  2. simple yet exploding with flavors. what a great dinner. recipe was easy to follow and turned out delicious. will be making this again in the future.