History And Variants Of Sardinian Culurgiones
Culurgiones are a format of stuffed pasta typical of Sardinia. They are agnolotti characterized by a particular closure which seems almost an embroidery. The basic and traditional version has a filling made of potatoes, pecorino cheese and mint, but there are many versions. They are so deep-rooted at a local level, that they received the certification of Indicazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin) in 2015.
It is a very ancient type of stuffed pasta, whose evidence dates back to the early 1800s. It was thanks to the diffusion of the potato in this area with an ideal climate that made possible the invention of Culurgiones. The women from Ogliastra had invented a tool capable of crushing potatoes, which could thus be reduced to a puree and used in the filling of ravioli.
Sardinian Local Traditions
It seems that in the Sardinian village of Ulassai, before 1960, Culurgiones were consumed only on the day of the dead, November 2. In Ogliastra, their area of origin, they are considered as a precious gift, not a simple food. It was used to prepare them for important occasions, such as the end of wheat harvest, to celebrate the dead and to celebrate carnival. The characteristic closure sa spighitta, owes its name to the shape that recalls the ear of wheat. The manual ability of the housewives makes the moment of the closing of the Culurgiones very suggestive. In the past they were even considered as amulets capable of protecting the whole family.
Regional variants of Culurgiones
According to the area of origin, there are many types of Culurgiones. In the area of Ogliastra, where they are born, they are prepared with durum wheat semolina which will contain the filling made of potatoes, pecorino cheese and mint. The classic ear-shaped closure is done manually by local pasta makers. After having boiled them, they are seasoned with a simple sauce of fresh tomatoes and basil. In mountain areas the stuffing is enriched with garlic, whereas in coastal areas with fried onion. In other areas, instead, the seasoning changes and is enriched with pork meat or fresh sausage. In Southern Sardinia, the stuffing is replaced with sheep ricotta cheese, egg and saffron. It may also happen to find the addition of chard or spinach.
Different regions have different variants, but the matching with wines is very common in the whole region. There are many Sardinian wines which can be matched to the flavors of Culurgiones. A taste with notes of citron and thyme is enough to relieve the palate from a rich and tasty dish.