What is Culurgiones?
Culurgiones is a traditional dish of Ogliastra, a region situated in Sardinia. These are Sardinian stuffed pockets with 2-4 inches in length and 1-2 inches of width. The dough is made from semolina flour, white floor, eggs, water and salt giving a soft crust to the ravioli.
The filling is commonly made with boiled potatoes, olive oil, pecorino cheese, garlic, mint and nutmeg. The fillings vary from region to region depending on the person baking. In the region of Ogliastra and Sadali fiscidu is added instead of cheese whereas in Barbagia the Culurgiones are packed with fresh cheese and served with pork chops and sauces.
Another variant is seen the south of the Sardinian where we find hard filling of ricotta cheese, meat of sheep or goat, egg & saffron and seasoned with basil, pecorino, sauce and spinach. In the area of Villagrande Strisaili, the Culurgiones are fried instead of boiled.
The towns especially famous for the preparation of Culurgiones are Ulassai, Jerzu, Villagrande Strisaili, Osini and Lotzorai.
Many custom is attached to this traditional dish and are consumed on special days. In the town of Ulassai, Culurgiones are eaten only on the “Day of the Dead” held in 2nd November and this tradition continued till late 1960’s.
These are also prepared on festive seasons like Thanksgiving, the day of remembering the dead and Carnival in February. Interestingly, the stuffing gets changed for the Carnival and is filled with lard.
The appearance of Culurgiones has a striking similarity with the shape of wheat grain as it is believed to appease the new crop in August. They are even considered to be the talisman that safeguards family deprivation.
Making Culurgiones is not tough at all rather the dough is made in a very simple easy process by mixing white flour, semolina flour, eggs, water and pinch of salt. To give them the circular shape the dough is rolled out and cut into rounds. The fillings are placed in between and the both sides are sealed and a wheat grain like structure is obtained. The sealing might be difficult for the beginners but loads of practice will make you an expert. The sealing must be compact so that your stuffing does not fall off.
Culurgiones with brown butter– Ingredients required for the filling are Yukon gold potatoes, pecorino cheese, egg, olive oil, mint, salt, pepper and butter. Make the filling by mixing mashed potatoes, olive oil, mint, egg, pepper and salt. Boil the pasta and place the filling in the middle of each circle and fold them. Prepare the sauce with butter, salt and pepper and gently boil the pasta in it. Your dish will be ready in 5 minutes. Season it with pecorino cheese and mint on top.
Culurgiones Sardinian Ravioli- The easiest preparation of Culurgiones which needs whole potatoes, onions, spearmint, bread flour, salt, water and olive oil. Cook the mashed potatoes with garlic cloves and onions and season it salt and mint. Make the pasta and stuff it with your potato filling. Freeze them and later boil them in ample salt water.
Culurgiones with ricotta and tomato- Make your dough with flour, water and olive oil and leave it for 30 min. On the other hand mix the mashed potato, ricotta, pecorino, garlic, mint and olive in a bowl. To cook the sauce heat the pan with olive oil, minced garlic, tomatoes, brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Season the sauce with white wine and basil. Simmer your Culurgiones and add sauce on top of it.