Su Filindeu, the ancient “threads of God” in sheep’s broth
A long process of preparation, an ancient tradition and few expert hands able to make them. We are talking about Su Filindeu, a particular kind of pasta tied with the tradition of the city of Nuoro, the rarest pasta in the world that draw the attention of the BBC, but that risk to disappear.
History of Su Filindeu
Su Filindeu, literally “the threads of God” are a rare pasta, typical of the province of Nuoro, that for more than a century have been prepared to welcome the pilgrims that arrive at the shrine of San Francesco di Lula, not so far from Nuoro, in October and May.
The tradition wants that the believers have to be feed with a nourishing dish of Su Filindeu in sheep’s broth and still today a small number of expert woman carry on the tradition. In fact, they prepare this kind of pasta following the ancient technique.
How to prepare Su Filindeu
The ingredients are simple: water, durum wheat semolina and a pinch of salt. Knead them until you obtain an elastic and homogenous dough. There are no doses or fixed rules, all is about the experience of the woman that are able to understand when the dough is ready to be stretched thanks to their experience and the developed sensitivity.
The dough is divided into small sections, like loafs of 100 gr and then worked into a rolled-cylindrical shape, stretched and folded. Stretched again and re-folded many times with the hand on a wood pastry board, until you obtain a series on long thin threads, the threads of God. From a loaf on hectogram it is possible to obtain 256 threads, after folding it eight times.
The thinness of the threads is impressive, so that the ability and the patient of the women during the preparation, that requires wide and flowing movements of hands and arms. Once obtained the threads, they are placed on three overlapped layers on a round surface made of dried asphodel leaves. The layers are overlapped and twisted making a net that will become more compact while drying under the sun and air.
The big weave of threads, once dried, is broken roughly in small pieces and cooked in a rich sheep’s broth and seasoned with acid fresh pecorino cheese.
The tradition and the future of the Su Filindeu
The long and complicated preparation has became Slow Food presidium, and put the new generations to the test. In fact this rare traditional dish risk to disappear, as it lives only thanks to the hands of few expert women.
Su filindeu even draw the attention of the famous English chef Jamie Oliver and the BBC flew to Sardinia to interview Paola, the female chef that for years has prepare huge quantities of Su Filindeu in occasion of the pilgrimage to the Lula shrine. Paola’s job, is intend to disappear, but there will be a trace of it in a video realized by Gambero Rosso, the historical guide that filmed the Master of Su Filindeu in Rome to catch her ability and technique. The only way to taste this rare excellence is to go to one of the few typical restaurants of the Municipality of Nuoro, hoping that some young hands would try in the future, to reply this ancient tradition.