The Food and Cuisine of Sardinia (Sardegna)
For lovers of seafood, Sardinia’s beaches are an ideal vacation spot. Sardinian cuisine offers rock lobsters, clams, crabs, squid, anchovies and sardines, among other delights. Mullet eggs are harvested and dried into solid blocks. This strongly flavored food, called bottarga, is shaved or thinly sliced to serve over pasta or salad. Cassòla, a flavorful seafood soup, can have as many as a dozen types of seafood cooked with spices and tomatoes. Shark meat is cooked into burrida, a chower with unique variations at each port. In Sardinian cooking, seafood can be found in other dishes as well. Aragosta arrosto splits the local rock lobsters in half, topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and roasted in the oven.
Sardinian recipes for soup are generally hearty. Fregula uses semolina to thicken this pork, pecorino and onion soup. Fava beans are cooked with cardoons, wild fennel, tomatoes, salt pork and sausage to create the thick stew known as favata. Farro, a local grain, is simmered slowly in beef broth with cheese and mint to make su farro.
The heart of Sardinian cooking is said to be the humble meals of the peasants, primarily roasted and preserved meats, aged cheese and wines. Spit roasted suckling pig, lamb or kid over wood fire is commonly enjoyed. Local herbs and woods are used in the flame to flavor the food. Sardinian cooks are masters of cooking over the open flame, able to keep from burning the meat and keeping the inside tender and juicy.
Chickens are marinated with myrtle leaves and berries, boiled and eaten chilled. Other Sardinian recipes for meat are agnello con finocchietti, a stew of baby lamb with wild fennel, tomatoes and onion. Not a people to waste food, Sardinians stew lamb or kid intestine with peas, onions and tomatoes.
This beautiful island’s growing conditions are ideal for growing fresh food. Sardinian cuisine is generously seasoned with tomato sauces and features local produce including zucchini, eggplant, peas, artichokes, fava beans and many varieties of fragrant herbs. The wild game dishes are especially savory, often scented with juniper, myrtle and wild fennel.
Sardinians love pasta in all forms. They eat the more familiar spaghetti and maccheroni, but Sardinian cuisine features specialties found nowhere else. The plump culingiones are shaped like ravioli and stuffed with chard and pecorino and served with tomato sauce, though there are sweet almond variations as well. The regional dish is known as malloreddus. These tiny semolina gnocchi are topped with a garlic, basil, pecorino and saffron flavored sausage and tomato sauce.
Every village has a unique shape of bread, either a round loaf, a long cylindrical loaf or a donut shaped loaf. Sardinian recipes also include the unique sebadas, a sweet focaccia flavored with pecorino cheese and a local bitter honey. The whole region universally loves flatbreads and crisp carta de musica. One popular way to serve this cracker in the summertime is to soften it in warm water, then spread it with tomato sauce, grated cheese and poached eggs.
Along with the local breads, Sardinian cooking offers a wide selection of cookies, pastries and cakes. These desserts often are flavored with spices, almonds, raisins and ricotta cheese. Pabassinas are pastries filled with raisin walnut paste. These sweet dishes are very similar to papassinus, which also contain cinnamon, cloves and aniseed in the filling.
Fresh & Cured Meats:
Agnello di Sardegna PGI
Fiore Sardo PDO, Pecorino Romano PDO, Pecorino Sardo PDO
Breads & Cereals:
Bottarga, Sea Salt