Malloreddus alla Campidanese (Sardinian Gnochetti)

The traditional Malloreddus Sauce is a delicious bright tomato ragù with fennel and saffron notes.

I cheated and served it over traditional potato gnocchi for a quick meal. Okay – full disclosure-my malloreddus didn’t turn out… see my tale of woe below!

I was researching Italian regional recipes and wine pairings and malloreddus definitely came up as a very traditional dish.

The ragù typically has fennel sausage, fennel seeds and another hint of saffron. I can’t tell you how bright and flavourful this sauce is! It was the real surpise hit of the dish.

As for the malloreddus… full disclosure – mine didn’t turn out but it may have been a happy mistake! I substituted store bought potato gnocchi, tossed in a mixture of olive oil and butter and then topped with the sauce.

Delicious – and way easier than home made pasta!

Here is a traditional malloreddus recipe from Great Italian Chefs in case you want to give it at try. I have successfully made pasta in the past so I didn’t have any qualms about trying the malloreddus but mine took forever to cook – like 25 minutes before they even thought about floating… and they were dense, little pasta nuggets. The instructions do talk about the dough being very dry….

So… back to using a store bought gnocchi – just follow the package instructions. I chose to melt a Tablespoon of butter and mix it with a tablespoon olive oil and tossed the gnocchi in it before topping them with the sauce and fresh grated cheese.

Easy and a keeper!

Wine Pairing for Malloreddus Campidanese

I prepared this as part of researching Sardinian cuisine so I wanted to stay true to Sardinia in the wine pairing. For a red look for Sardinian Cannonau, which is actually the Grenache grape. The Sardinian version tends to be low in acid, high in alcohol and big on dark fruit flavour. This is the signature red of Sardinia. Failing finding a Cannnonau I would look for a Barbera d’Asti or a French or Spanish Grenache. A Rhone GSM blend would also work.

On the white spectrum Vermentino is the best known white wine of Sardinia. It is typically a light bodied bright wine with good acidity, green apple, citrus and ripe pear notes. Another non-Sardinian choice would be a Soave or a Sauvignon Blanc.

Bowl of malloreddus pasta topped with Italian fennel sausage and saffron ragu.

Malloreddus Campidanese (Sardinian Gnochetti)

Saffron kissed, gnocci-like pasta topped with a fennel sausage, saffron sauce.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 34 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


Malloreddus or Gnocchi


  • 5 mL olive oil 1 tsp
  • 340 grams Italian fennel sausage, casing removed 3/4 pound
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-10 mL crushed fennel seeds 1-2 tsp
  • 800 grams canned tomatoes (or fresh, peeled & chopped) 28 oz
  • 60 grams sun dried tomatoes, minced 1/2 cup
  • 15 mL tomato paste 1 Tbsp
  • 5 mL fine sea salt 1 tsp
  • 5 mL saffron dissolved in 30 mL (2Tbsp) warm water 1 tsp
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 fresh basil leaves cut in strips
  • 60 grams grated Pecorino cheese 1/2 cup



  • Prepare gnocchi according to package instruction. Be sure to cook a couple of minutes more after they have all come to a float.
  • When done, drain and toss in butter/olive oil mixture.


  • Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Crumble the sausage and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes until cooked but not browned. Transfer sausage to a bowl and set aside.
  • Discard all but 1 tsp of the fat left in the skillet. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sun-dried toamatoes, tomato paste, salt, saffron, bay leaf and basil leaves. Return the sausage to the pot and simmer over medum-low heat, covered about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Uncover and cook 5 minutes more.


  • Remove the bay leaf from the sauce. Transfer the gnocchi to a large bowl, add the sauce and toss to combine.
  • Top with fresh grated cheese and serve.


Calories: 841kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 1603mg | Potassium: 1608mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 723IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 301mg | Iron: 10mg
Malloreddus alla Campidanese (Sardinian Gnochetti)

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