The Rarest Pasta In The World Requires A 20-Mile Hike To Eat It

It hasn't always been easy to get pasta in the United States. Before the first pasta factory in America was opened in 1848, the product was either imported all the way from Italy or made at home using one of the first models of the modern-day pasta maker. These days, however, it takes no effort to get your hands on practically any variety from your local grocery store. But what you won't find in the pasta aisle is su filindeu, a super thin pasta from Sardinia, Italy.

Like many other types of pasta, su filindeu is named for its shape. Atlas Obscura explains that su filindeu translates to "threads of God" in Sardo (the language spoken in Sardinia) because the noodles are extremely thin and delicate. Su filindeu is so difficult to get your hands on because there are only a handful of people that make it. In fact, true su filindeu is only produced by the women of the Abraini family who all live in a remote Sardinian town called Lula, according to Saveur. Getting to Lula is a trek in itself, requiring a 20-mile hike from the city of Nuoro, but it's the only way to get a taste of this rare pasta.

Why is su filindeu so hard to make?

The recipe for su filindeu pasta dough is simpler than you might expect. It takes only three ingredients to make: semolina flour, salt, and water, which is mixed into the dough and used to moisten it whenever it starts to dry out or lose elasticity. But it isn't the ingredients that make su filindeu so hard to make. It's the technique.

While the majority of pasta varieties can easily be replicated by commercial machines, su filindeu can only be made by hand. The noodles are made by rolling out and stretching the dough over and over again until super thin strands form — all by hand. These thin strands are then layered onto each other in a crisscross pattern and air-dried outside. According to Food Beast, pasta company Barilla attempted to create a machine that could recreate the hand-pulling and layering process required to make su filindeu, but, because of how easily the dough breaks, the pasta company was unsuccessful.

What does su filindeu taste like?

Unlike most types of pasta, su filindeu is not cooked in boiling water, but rather in mutton broth with bits of cheese. When Jamie Oliver took part in making su filindeu on an episode of "Jamie's Super Foods" the Abraini tossed in some cubes of pecorino, but local goat's cheese is also used. During the cooking process, the pasta soaks up the broth and cheese, resulting in a creamy soup with a flavor that can best be described as gamey as the cheese is made from sheep milk and the broth from sheep meat.

Considering how difficult it is to make, it isn't surprising that su filindeu is reserved only for a few very special occasions (per BBC) like the Festival of San Francesco, which is celebrated twice a year in Sardinia. If you're looking to get your hands on a bowl of su filindau, the festival is a good chance, but you'll have to make a trip to Sardinia in May or October when the festival is held and be prepared for a lot of hiking. As part of a 200-year-old tradition, only those who make the 20-mile trek from Nuoro to Lula can enjoy the regional delicacy, but those who have all seem to agree that it's well worth all that effort.

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