It has been a while since I’ve found an unusual pasta shape to cook with. I recently discovered the Gnocchetti Sardi pasta shape in Valentina Fine Foods, an Italian restaurant deli and have been itching to try it out in a new recipe.
After doing a little research online I discovered that this small tightly curved pasta with a ridged exterior is from Sardinia and was traditionally made by pressing the pasta dough onto the bottom of a wicker basket. Gnocchetti Sardi is also known as Malloreddus.
This incredibly easy pasta dish takes no time at all to prepare and makes a delicious lunchtime meal. I adore the vibrancy and punchy flavours from the rocket (arugula), basil, Parma ham and semi dried tomatoes, not forgetting the salty Parmesan cheese which seems to bring everything together. I ate my pasta whilst still warm but I think it would work equally well cold as a pasta salad ideal for a picnic.
Gnocchetti Sardi Pasta with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes
75g Gnocchetti Sardi pasta
1 tsp olive oil
2 slices Parma ham
50g semi dried tomatoes in olive oil
a handful of rocket (arugula)
a handful of basil
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese
1. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente (11 minutes approximately).
2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Using a pair of scissors trim off the excess fat from the Parma ham and cut into bite size pieces, . Sauté the Parma ham in the oil until beginning to crisp.
3. Chop the basil and semi dried tomatoes into bite size pieces.
3. Drain the pasta and add to the Parma ham along with the semi dried tomatoes pieces. Warm through for about 30 seconds or so.
4. Off the heat stir in the rocket (arugula) and basil. Serve immediately with lots of grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!
Recipe by Julie McPherson
If you are lucky enough to have an Italian deli nearby, I absolutely recommend you pay it a visit. Italian deli’s are fantastic places for tracking down a wide variety of pasta types, as well as cheeses, meats and breads.
Until next time.