Courtesy Stefano Baldantoni, chef, D.O.C. Wine Bar, Brooklyn, NY
The No. 1 red wine grape in Sardinia is Cannonau, the local name for Grenache. Here, it’s rich and ripe, thanks to its unusually high levels of healthful polyphenols, which many credit with Sardinians’ exceptional longevity. Vermentino is the white-wine star here. Look for Vermentino di Gallura, Sardinia’s only Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), Italy’s highest wine designation for appellation quality. Other less-known grapes are Torbato, Nuragus, Cagnulari, and Bovale.
Names to look for: Cantina Argiolas, Cantina Dorgali, Mora&Memo, Cantina Santa Maria La Palma, Pala Sella & Mosca
Malloreddus alla Campidanese
Italian expats and curious New Yorkers alike converge at D.O.C. Wine Bar for its authentic Sardinian cuisine and broad selection of Italian wines. Made with malloreddus, a sort of semolina gnocchi, this dish is ever-present throughout the island. It’s one of the few Sardinian pastas that doesn’t come covered in bottarga, or dried roe.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 8 ounces Italian pork sausage, casing removed
- ¼ cup Vermentino or other dry white wine
- 2 cups canned or fresh tomato purée
- 1 pound fresh or dried malloreddus (or substitute cavatelli)
- Salt, to taste
- 3 ounces Pecorino Sardo cheese, grated
Warm oil in deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6–8 minutes, or until golden brown. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into crumbles, until brown and crisp at edges. Add wine, then let evaporate.
Reduce heat to low. Add tomato purée and cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside 1 cup of the starchy cooking water. Drain pasta and add pasta to pan with sauce. Stir well, until pasta is well coated. Add reserved pasta water as needed if sauce seems too thick. Add salt, to taste.
Transfer to serving plates, and top with Pecorino. Serves 4–6.
Cantina Dorgali 2014 Cannonau di Sardegna. “Cannonau di Sardegna has a lively acidity that complements the malloreddus very well,” says Claudio Coronas, co-owner of D.O.C. Wine Bar. “It’s light in color, but full-flavored, with raspberry and blackberry fruit, hearty with a touch of spice.”