Lorighittas in Butternut Squash Sauce
ICE student Melanie Case makes Sardinian pasta for a virtual market basket challenge.
While our New York and Los Angeles campuses are closed amid the COVID-19 shutdowns, we're hosting a voluntary virtual market basket challenge for students and alumni on Instagram each week. This week's winner, Culinary Arts student Melanie Case, presents her original recipe.
Lorighitta originated in Sardinia, an Italian island where the pasta has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries. It’s named after the Sardinian word for the iron rings used to hitch horses. People consider it a secret because so few know of it. I definitely did not do Sardinian grannies justice, but it was really fun to discover this pasta shape and a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. And they’re just so cute.
"This stunning dish screams comfort," says Director of Culinary Research and Development Barry Tonkinson who is hosting the challenge. "These unctuous Sardinian pasta rings are smothered in a butternut squash sauce made with the pureed squash, sautéed onions and thyme. Crispy pancetta adds a little saltiness along with a good crunchy texture, the mushrooms are sautéed in the leftover bacon fat, and a little acidity from the tomatoes lift it up."
Lorighittas in Butternut Squash Sauce
This particular pasta dough is traditionally made without egg so this recipe can easily be made vegan! Just substitute oil for butter and leave out the pancetta.
Lorighitta is traditionally made with durum flour: a soft, fine, yellow-toned flour that is high in protein and gluten. I only had durum wheat semolina, which is heavier and more coarse than durum flour so I used a combination of semolina and all-purpose flour for my lorighittas. By all means, if you have durum flour, use that.
- 180 grams all-purpose flour
- 120 grams durum wheat semolina
- 4 grams salt
- 180 grams hot water, more if needed
- On a clean surface, make a well with the flour and salt. Slowly add the hot water in the middle of the well, and gradually incorporate the water and flour using a fork, circling around the edges of the well.
- Dough should be firm yet pliable and should not crack when you knead it. Knead for 10-30 minutes or until you can roll a small piece of the pasta dough into a spaghetti strand without it breaking. Cover dough with a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
- To shape the lorighitta, cut off a small piece of pasta dough - roughly the size of your thumb - and roll into a thin rope. Wrap the rope around three fingers two times and pinch off the rest of the dough. Twist the two layers of dough around each other using the tips of your fingers. (This process is tricky. I recommend watching the “pasta grannies” YouTube video on lorighittas for reference, or using the ChefSteps guide online.)
Butternut Squash Sauce
- 1 whole butternut squash, large dice
- 1 vidalia onion, large dice
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Salt, to taste
- Pancetta, diced
- Baby bella mushrooms, quartered
- 2 tomatoes, seeded, small dice
- Parsley, minced
- Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Add butternut squash, onions, thyme and salt, and stir.
- Sauté the butternut squash and onion until it’s very aromatic, and then add just enough water to come halfway up the squash. Reduce the water until it’s 90% evaporated, repeat, adding water and evaporating until the squash is very tender.
- Transfer to a blender and purée until very smooth.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Meanwhile, over low heat, render the pancetta in a pan until crisp. Remove pancetta, turn up the heat to medium, and sear the baby bella mushrooms in the pancetta fat.
- Remove mushrooms and deglaze the pan with the diced tomatoes.
- Add butternut squash sauce to pan and reheat as you cook the lorighittas. The pasta will sink at first but will float to the surface when ready (about 2-4 minutes). Add lorighitta to sauce.
- To plate, top with mushrooms, pancetta and parsley.