A fast and festive holiday meal
Massimiliano Conti, chef of San Francisco's La Ciccia, keeps the beloved malloreddus (a ridged cavatelli-shaped durum wheat pasta) on the menu year-round, but says that in his native Sardinia, where the recipe originated, it's a staple of the holiday table. "Traditionally, this pasta was made in the late fall and winter, after the annual pig slaughter," says the chef. Conti recalls watching his grandmother, aunt and mother make it together for New Year's Eve dinner. By serving the comforting, pork-rich dish at his own restaurant, he's carrying on the family tradition.
Malloreddus alla Campidanese
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 45 minutes
2 cups strained, whole canned tomatoes (preferably Italian tomatoes)
1 pound malloreddus (or penne or fusilli)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed
¾ pound mild Italian sausage, casing removed and sausage roughly chopped
8 basil leaves, roughly chopped
Pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese, divided
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