If you read my post about Sardinian food, you should know that malloreddus is one of the traditional pasta people have on the island.

They are usually prepared for special occasions: no festival occurs in Sardinia without malloreddus being abundantly served. It’s the kind of dish you usually eat at home, on Sundays, or find at trattorie (local eateries) or agriturismo – that’s where you will get them served with the most traditional sauce. Restaurants usually serve variations of the traditional malloreddus alla campidanese recipe, or simply ignore the traditions and serve them with other new (and delicious) sauces.

The origins of the name malloreddus are unclear. Some say it comes from the Latin “mallolus,” which means morsel, little bite. Others claim that the name comes from “malloru,” which in the Campidanese dialect of the Sardinian language means bull. Malloreddus would thus mean “calves.”

The name “gnocchetti sardi” with which people outside of Sardinia refer to this kind of pasta is merely a reference to its shape. In fact, some will say that malloreddus look like small potato gnocchi – but trust me, they taste nothing like them. In fact, there are no potatoes in them – just durum wheat semolina, water and salt for a texture that is significantly sturdier, toothier. This is a kind of pasta you’d have to boil for hours in order to overcook it (please don’t try this at home!).

Some kinds of gnocchetti sardi have a bit of saffron in the mixture and thus become of a slight yellow color. This ingredient – often referred to as the red gold of Sardinia – was first introduced on the island by the Moors and adds a bit of extra flavor to the pasta.

The shape of the pasta is obtained by hand rolling the dough on a round reed basket – another traditional product of Sardinia. It’s not hard to make – it’s easier explained in a video which will come in the near future – but you can also easily find it in any store or, alternatively, even online – get them on Amazon here.


In this post, we will show you an easy to follow way to prepare malloreddus alla campidanese. The recipe is traditional, but slightly revisited.

Before getting into the details of the recipe, let me give you a few notes on the ingredients:

This recipe doesn’t call for garlic. It would be a sacrilege to add garlic to it, no matter how much you like it. 

Sardinian dry and especially fresh sausage may be hard to come around but you can try to ask your butcher to prepare it for you: one of the key ingredients is fennel seeds, which gives it an extra delicate flavor. 

Some people would suggest adding basil to the sauce, but it is completely unnecessary. What you may want to add, if you want an extra strong flavor, is a tiny bit of saffron – but you really have to make sure to dose the amounts properly (I’d say 1/4 of a teaspoon is more than enough) or the flavor may end up being overpowering. Should you decide to you it, you’d have to add it to the meat once it is cooked. 

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the recipe.

How To Make Malloreddus Alla Campidanese

Yield: 2 to 3

Malloreddus Alla Campidanese


A traditional recipe, slightly revisited, for a mix of unique textures and aromas. Guaranteed success.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Additional Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 17 minutes


  • For The Sauce
  • 1/2 White onion
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 60 gr dry sausage
  • 300 gr fresh sausage
  • 300 gr minced pork
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 3 pinches of fine salt
  • 800 gr of tomato sauce

For The Final Dish

  • 200 gr of Malloreddus
  • 20 gr of grated pecorino fiore sardo
  • 80 gr of grated semi-seasoned pecorino
  • Abundand slightly salted cooking water


Malloreddus ingredients


  1. Peel the onions. My advice is to use a mixture of red and white onion for flavor. I use half red onion and half white onion: cut them in brunoise (small cubes).
  2. Chop the dry sausage into small pieces and take off the casing from the fresh sausage.

Cooking the sauce


  1. Heat the oil in a pot, add the onions and the rosemary and leave to brown 2 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add the dry sausage and let it brown for 2 more minutes, then add the fresh sausage, let it color and immediately add the minced meat.
  3. Continue stirring in order to separate the ingredients. After a couple of minutes of browning add the salt and tomato passata.
  4. Bring to a boil then put the flame to the minimum and cover with a lid.
  5. Leave to cook for up to 2 to 3 hours to reduce the sauce.



  1. Bring a pot of slightly salted water to a boil and throw in the pasta.
  2. When cooked, drain and immediately pour the pasta into 300 gr. of sauce.
  3. Add the grated pecorino cheeses and a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and serve.



Chef's Tip

The secret for a perfect dish is to properly stir in the cheese and letting everything rest for a minute before serving.

You can freeze whatever is left of the sauce for future use.

Malloreddus alla campidanese

Nutrition Information:


2 to 3

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1345Total Fat: 100gSaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 54gCholesterol: 294mgSodium: 4392mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 7gSugar: 19gProtein: 82g

Further readings about Sardinia

Check out the following recipes:

For more readings about Sardinia, make sure to check my other posts:

This post was written by Strictly Sardinia contributor Gianni Simonetti. All photos in this post to be credited to Gianni Simonetti. Make sure to check out his Instagram channel for more delicious recipes.

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Read the best recipe to make malloreddus alla campidanese - via @c_tavani

Find out how to make malloreddus gnocchetti sardi - via @c_tavani

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