Malloreddus, Malloreddus Allo Zafferano & Cicioneddos: Sardinian pasta for gnocchi lovers

malloreddus malloreddus allo zaferano cicioneddos sardinian pasta

What are malloredus?

Malloreddus are a type of short, hand-rolled shaped pasta typical of Sardinian cuisine. This unique shell pasta is similar to gnocchi and thus is referred to as gnocchetti sardi or “little Sardinian gnocchi.”

malloreddus shell pasta

It is primarily made with two basic ingredients: durum wheat semolina flour and water. These ingredients are kneaded to form a dough.

Traditionally, each malloreddu is shaped by hand by pressing a small piece of dough in a rolling motion against a wicker basket to create the ridges. This process was typically repeated hundreds of times for a family meal.

Today, malloreddus is made at home by pressing the dough against a specially-made wooden board with ridges, or even against the back of a fork. More often, it is purchased pre-made as a dry pasta.

What is the difference between malloreddus and malloreddus allo zafferano?

A popular variation of malloreddus is malloreddus allo zafferano. These variations are quite similar to each other, so it is understandable to get them confused. They are both shell pastas that are known for their ridges making them somewhat difficult to identify from each other.

However, there are a couple ways to tell them apart. The main difference is, malloreddus allo zafferano is made with saffron (zafferano translates to saffron) and tends to have a yellowish color. Additionally, malloreddus allo zafferano is sometimes slightly longer as shown in the image below.

malloreddus allo zafferano
malloreddus allo zafferano

Are cicioneddos a type of malloreddus?

Yes, ciccioneddos are another type of Sardinian gnocchi that are shaped into a shell with ridges. However, they tend to be shorter and smaller as seen here.

cicioneddos cicioneddo Sardinian pasta

Because of their small size, they are comparable with orecchiette and can be used as a substitute in related dishes.

What sauces go best with these Sardinian gnocchi?

These gnocchi-like pastas can go well with a wide variety of sauces due to their concavity and ridges, which sauces can fill quite effectively. However, due to their thick shape, it is best with a heavy sauce like an arrabbiata or meat sauce like a sausage ragù.

Where can I get malloreddus?

You can buy these various types of Sardinian gnocchi at your local Italian grocer (your nearest “Little Italy” likely has one). If you are nowhere near an Italian grocery, you can always get your specialty Italian pasta online:

Hello! I'm Kristina

Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.