In the region where they were created in Sardinia, they are called "malloreddus" which in Sardinian dialect literally means "little gnocchi" and they are by definition considered to be the most typical dish.
The unusual thing about these little gnocchi is their size, which has been developed to create an exceptional consistency, and the ridged surface which at one time was obtained by pressing the pieces of pasta with the thumb on the bottom of a wicker basket called "ciurili". Nowadays this is done by using a grooved board.
Gnocchetti sardi are particularly good with traditional recipes combined with fresh ricotta or sheep's cheese, as well as being excellent with tomato or meat sauces.
Available in 500g or 3 Kg packs.
Mezzi Pennoni Rigati are a bigger variation of the classic Mezze Penne Rigate and thanks to their size, can hold a lot of sauce.
In Italian, the term "Penne" refers to the goose feather which was used historically to write with and was cut on a diagonal to achieve a really thin tip. The shape, obtained from a pasta tube, can be smooth or ridged, of varying length and has the typical diagonal cut of a quill.
Penne are one of the few types of pasta for which there is an exact date when it was created. Indeed, in 1865, a pasta-maker from San Martino d'Albaro (Genoa), Giovanni Battista Capurro, requested and obtained a patent for a diagonal cutting machine. The patent was important because it meant the fresh pasta could be cut like a quill without crushing it and in different lengths from 3 to 5 centimetres (mezze "half" penne or penne). The document preserved in the Central Archive of the State of Rome reads: "Up until now, a diagonal cut could only be made by hand with a pair of scissors which, in addition to being slow and time-consuming, also resulted in an irregular cut which flattened the pasta".
The smaller-sized Mezzi Pennoni Rigati are perfect for stirring up together with creamy sauces, both red ones made with tomatoes or white ones made with cheese, or with classic vegetable soups to be eaten with a spoon.
Available in 500g pack.s