Maretalia Ristorante’s Gnocchi Sardi

Chef Tim Kolanko of Coronado’s Maretalia Ristorante shows us how to cook Gnocchi Sardi at home

You may think you know everything necessary about gnocchi, those dumpling-like, potato-based pillows of pleasure popular in Northern Italy. However, given that most cooking in Italy is regional or specific to a given town or even a household, cooks on the rugged island of Sardinia have bestowed the name “Gnocchi Sardi” on a semolina pasta, which they toss with a simple but lively sauce.

Chef Tim Kolanko of Coronado’s Maretalia Ristorante makes his own pasta for this dish, but the rest of us will head to the pasta section at a good supermarket—or at a specialty market like Filippi’s or Mona Lisa—and grab a sack of semolina gnocchi.

Lots of flavors dance through this dish, notably spicy Italian sausage, the bitter vegetable called rapini, garlic and lemon. Remember to save a cup of the pasta water, like Italians do, in case the sauce needs “loosening.”

Gnocchi Sardi

Photography by Martin Mann

Gnocchi Sardi Serves two as an entree, or five as a first course

  • 1/4 c. olive oil (divided use)
  • 1 link spicy Italian sausage (about 6 oz.), peeled and crumbled
  • 10 oz. packaged semolina gnocchi
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 c. white wine
  • 1 bunch rapini (a widely available vegetable also called broccoli rabe), roughly chopped
  • 3 oz. pecorino cheese, grated (divided use)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Set a strainer or colander in the sink.

Meanwhile, gently heat one-half of the olive oil in a large saute pan, add sausage and stir occasionally for five minutes.

Add gnocchi to boiling water and cook according to package directions, or until
al dente. Save a cup of pasta water, and then drain pasta in colander.

Add shallot and garlic to sausage,
stir for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not
to brown.

Add wine, raise heat and reduce wine by half. Add reserved pasta, chopped rapini, remaining olive oil and half the grated pecorino and stir 1 to 2 minutes, until pasta is coated. If necessary, splash in a little of the reserved pasta water to “loosen” the sauce. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper. Serve immediately by dividing gnocchi among warm plates and topping with remaining grated pecorino.

Suggested beverage pairing: A full-bodied Sicilian red wine. 

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