One difficulty when making malloreddus, the semolina based Sardinian noodle, is the difficulty in kneading the hard wheat. Yesterday we worked around that by borrowing the technique of using hot water in the dough from classic gyoza wrappers. As it turns out, we played around with the same idea this past March. In that instance we were trying to achieve a fusilli of sorts. Yesterday we were working to efficiently produce malloreddus. We love the way the hot water hydrates the dough and seems to make it more elastic. It adds texture and chew simply by changing the temperature of the dough before you knead it. Sometimes it's the small changes that make the biggest difference.
Boiling Water Semolina Malloreddus
Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a side
300 grams semolina flour
1.25 grams baking soda
150 grams boiling water
Put the semolina and baking soda in a bowl and mix them together. Pour the boiling water over the mixture and use a rubber spatula to begin stirring it together. When the dough looks rough and shaggy, begin to knead it by hand in the bowl. The boiling water makes the dough hot and it's important to make sure the dough is not too hot to handle. You can let it cool for s few minutes, if need be, or you can wear rubber gloves to protect your hands as you knead. Our hands are a bit weathered so we just dove in. Knead the dough for several minutes, until it became silky and smooth. What is interesting is that this dough feels almost oily, even though it is not. It does not stick to the bowl or your hands.
After kneading the dough we wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes to allow for further hydration. We rolled the dough into a 1/4 inch sheet and cut it into 1/2 inch strips. We ran the dough through our cavatelli machine. If you don't have a machine, you can use the hand rolled technique found in our miso cavatelli recipe. After making the noodles we arranged them onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and refrigerated them, uncovered. We were looking for some of the surface moisture to wick away. After 18 hours in the refrigerator we put the malloreddus into a zip top bag and refrigerated them until we were ready to cook them. Alternatively you can freeze them and cook them directly from the freezer.
When we boiled the malloreddus in salted water, they had a tenderness and a firm chewy bite. We served them with a quick broccoli and cheese sauce. What was equally exciting is that the noodles retained their texture and bite after being kept warm for several hours. Did I mention we packed the noodles in a Thermos container to eat during gymnastics practice? Homemade pasta makes a great meal on the go.