Su Filindeu pasta is rare and unique to Sardinia; there are only three women in the town of Nuoro who still make it. It looks like angel hair pasta and it’s very tricky to make. Traditionally, it is served as a cheesy thick soup. No one can remember how or why the women in Nuoro started preparing su filindeu (whose name means “the threads of God”), but for more than 300 years, the recipe and technique have only been passed down through the women in Abraini’s family – each of whom have guarded it tightly before teaching it to their daughters.
Su filindeu is made by pulling and folding semolina dough into 256 perfectly even strands with the tips of your fingers, and then stretching the needle-thin wires diagonally across a circular frame in an intricate three-layer pattern. You start with Semolina Flour and water to make the dough. The dough has to be kneaded a lot so she uses a motorized dough beater until it is soft. After that, the dough Let to relax. Once ready to go, she kneads a dough again and adds in waters and saltwater to get to the feel and elasticity that she desires. Salvatora stretches it 6-7 times (taking one thick rope and make 256 small strands) to create very thin strands like angel hair and then lays it across a flat basket. She makes 3 layers at different angles and then puts it outside to dry in the sunshine. The end result looks like tree bark.
Here is the video of Salvatora’s technique. But as many have come to realize, it is very hard to do yourself and takes years of practice.
To cook the pasta, you always make it in lamb stock and add Pecorino cheese to make a thick soup. Here are the directions.
- Cut up the mutton (lamb) and add to a large stock pot to cook.
- Add salt
- Add onion, celery and carrot
- Add a few dried tomatoes and a bunch of fresh basil
- Cook that badboy for a couple hours
- Cut sheep’s milk cheese into small chunks
- Break up the pasta into bite sized pieces
- Strain the broth
- Add in the “Threads of God” pasta and cheese.
- You are ready to serve
This video shows the process and cooking the pasta in Italy
And just so you know, this Su Filindeu Pasta is not easy to prepare. There is a reason it is called the rarest pasta in the world. British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver stopped by to ask Abraini if she could teach him how to make the dish. After failing for two hours, he threw his hands up and said, “I’ve been making pasta for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
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