Lorighittas, the handmade Sardinian pasta made by women – Italian Cuisine

Lorighittas, the handmade Sardinian pasta made by women

Le lorighittas, a particular type of fresh Sardinian pasta from the province of Oristano, has been prepared and intertwined by the local women for over 100 years

On the slopes of Mount Arci, in the Sardinia western, rises the country of Morgongiori in the province of Oristano, about 800 inhabitants, known at the regional level for its carpets and handmade tapestries. This village, in reality, also holds a secret that is handed down from generation to generation, or the recipe and the technique of preparation of the lorighittas, a special format pasta, hand-woven, which can be considered a real gem of Sardinian gastronomic tradition.

The lorighittas, between tradition and folk tales

The first written testimony concerning the lorighittas dates back to XVI century, in a report on regional economic activities drawn up for the king of Spain, which at the time had control over most of southern Italy, including Sardinia, Naples and Sicily. In this document was in fact mentioned a particular Sardinian paste, twisted and shaped like a ring. The tradition of lorighittas was long linked to the celebration of the All Saints Day, 1 November. It was indeed customary that the women of the village gathered in the kitchens, in the previous days, and spend time together, kneading semolina flour and water and intertwining the dough on wooden tables. The lorighittas were then placed on wicker baskets, with an ornamental order that reminded the lace doilies, and left to dry. It was during this time of waiting that we proceeded with the preparation of the sauce, or a tomato sauce enriched with free-range cockerel meat, sometimes replaced with pork or wild boar in the wealthiest families.

So, like today, the preparation is done exclusively by hand and requires dexterity, meticulousness and a lot of time. Just think that only for the preparation of the dough, a process that includes the gradual addition of salt water to make the lorighittas softer, it takes at least 30 minutes.
Furthermore, the fact that from tradition the young women have always been involved in this local artisan pasta of the country, which then handed down the recipe to subsequent generations, it is probably due to the Sardinian pastoral culture according to which it was the duty of the women to take care of the food preparations while the men were busy in the fields.
Sull 'origin of the name, lorigas, there are many popular theories and stories. It is said, for example, that the pasta was so called because it recalls the growths of the neck of goats or pigs, or the literary translation "iron rings" because the shape is similar to that of the intertwined hoop earrings worn by women or of the iron rings that once were attached to the walls of the local houses to tie horses and oxen when the men returned from the fields.

The lorighittas today

While in the houses of Morgongiori women carry on the tradition, production is carried on, always with artisan and manual procedure, even from some laboratories. Moreover, since 2006, the municipal council, thanks to a program financed by the EU, has launched a project, Asso Lori, which deals with the enhancement, revitalization and protection of this unique pasta in the world, thus supporting local producers. Although pasta is still little known outside of Sardinia, consumer demand increases more and more.
Today lorighittas are a strong dish of many Sardinian restaurants and there are many chefs who propose original recipes with products of land and sea.
In addition, the city of Morgongiori continues to dedicate the first Sunday of August to the lorighittas in a city festival called Sagra delle lorighittas, so as to show off its precious culinary heritage.

Photo: Lorighittas pasta sardegna_fugzu_Flikr.jpg; Lorighittas @Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Br-A0XxF5Je.

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