Culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant

Culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant

Tomato & eggplant sauce preparation for culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant - Black Chasseur round casserole

Culurgiònes are a specialty of the Ogliastra province in Sardinia; an area known for its gorgeous beaches, traditional villages and spectacular rocky scenery.

It’s also a beautiful place to chill by turquoise coloured waters and get a taste of its local cuisine.

Sicilian Culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant

You can spot wheat growing on many parts of the island; providing it’s the right time of the year. So it’s a given that these pleated little dumplings resemble a spike of wheat – a grain that’s been grown in Sardinia for almost 10,000 years.

Traditionally, culurgiònes are prepared for special occasions and thanksgiving at the end of the wheat harvest. As you’d expect, the fillings vary from region to region – tasty innards from potato, oil & mint to cheese & saffron. Some folk even use veal or beef fat instead of olive oil. Now that would taste pretty good!

Sicilian Culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant

The culurgiònes I’ve made here are filled with a mixture of mashed potato, parmesan, mint and olive oil. The texture is soft, the mint isn’t overbearing, the cheese is spot on and, well, they’re kinda delicious.

Often they’re served on their own with a light splash of olive oil and good dusting of freshly grated pecorino – or perhaps with a simple tomato sauce. Again, it depends who’s making them, and where.

Sicilian Culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant

I like the idea of a simple tomato sauce, but I added eggplant and a splash of red wine for a little more flavour. In a way it’s a stripped-down version of caponata that goes nicely with the velvety soft dumplings. It’s an easy sauce that takes no effort at all. Simply lump all the ingredients into a pot and whack it in the oven.

Now, let’s talk about the way these things have been constructed.

Pleating culurgiònes may be enough to put anyone off from making them altogether. I’ve got to be honest, the first five or six that I made looked a little like Sardinian road kill, but you quickly get the hang of it, I assure you. At least I had enough pastry at the end to gut the first failures and remake them a little more deftly.

Not that mine are perfect, mind you!

 

 

Print Recipe
Culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant
Unique to the Ogliastra province in Sardinia, these culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant are filled with potato and mint. Beautifully rustic and so tasty.
Sicilian Culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian, Sicilian
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Filling
Pastry
Sauce
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian, Sicilian
Servings
pieces
Ingredients
Filling
Pastry
Sauce
Sicilian Culurgiònes with tomato & eggplant
Instructions
Filling
  1. Wash the potatoes and cook in boiling water until cooked. Drain and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then peel off and discard the skins. Put the potatoes back into the pot and mash really well. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix well. Set aside to cool completely before use.
Pastry
  1. Put the flour, semolina and salt into a large mixing bowl and use your fingers to mix them together. Pour in the warm water and, using your fingers, form it into a dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and it springs back when poked. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge, cut it in half and roll it to 2 millimetre thickness. Use a pasta roller if you have one.
  3. Take a 9 cm round cutter or drinking glass and cut rounds from the rolled pastry. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the centre of each round and form it into culurgiònes.
  4. Watch my video on how to pleat them. Alternatively, just form them into semi-circular dumplings and press the ends together to seal.
  5. Repeat with the remaining pastry, lay them on a baking paper lined plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate until needed. They can be frozen if you're making them in advance, but be sure to defrost before cooking.
  6. To cook the culurgiones, boil a large pot of water, salt it well and cook the culurgiones for 2-3 minutes. Keep them moving to prevent sticking. They'll float to the top when they're done. Serve immediately with the sauce, or simply drizzle with virgin olive oil and a good grating of parmesan.
Sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Toss the chopped eggplant and whole cherry tomatoes into an ovenproof dish. Pour over the wine and oil, give it a good mix with your hands, then season well with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 1 hour, stirring it 1 or 2 times during cooking.
  3. Serve warm with the culurgiònes.
Recipe Notes

Note: The filling can be made the day before, if you wish. Just keep it refrigerated.

Share this Recipe
  • I’m glad you quickly get the hang of it, because the ones you photographed look absolutely lovely. My vote would be for the potato, oil, and mint version – I’ve never heard of such an interesting combination.

    • Yes, the potato and mint is tasty. Subtle flavours, but nice with the richness of the tomato sauce.

  • John – they are perfect! This is very impressive – and I love the video! I definitely want to try these, I love the filling you used, although cheese and saffron sounds really good, too.

  • Mar Carbonio

    Very nice choice!
    If you want to follow the original recipe, you should use, instead of Parmesan, pecorino cheese (a mix of fresh and aged), but maybe it’s hard to find it, in the stores of U.S.A.
    And you should change the recipe tag: it’s a Sardinian recipe, as you have written in your post, and not Sicilian 🙂

    • Thanks, Mar. I used parmesan as it was already in my fridge, even though pecorino can be also found in many Australian supermarkets now. And yes, I realised just after posting that I tagged it Sicilian, not Sardinian 🙂

  • Mar Carbonio

    Uhmm… I made a mistake: not U.S.A. but Australia, perhaps the pecorino cheese is not so hard to find there.
    🙂

  • I love the shape of these dumplings. Have made these before as Nepalese vegetarian momo (with chokoes!). These look like a tasty variation!

  • It’s a pierogi!! Only a huge one. They look so good! I’m definitely going to give them a try.

  • Sabrina Russo

    These look incredible! I’ve never had a culurgione – it’s on my to make list!

  • In true Italian style, they’d all be served on a plater and people would take as many as they like. Three or four would do as a starter, maybe five or six for something more substantial.

    • Katherine O

      Thanks, I made these over the weekend and they were delicious!

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