Su Filindeu, The Pasta Of God 0 Comments

Su Filindeu, The Pasta Of God

We have already talked about it in the Pasta article, but Su Filindeu deserves to be told in detail, because it is a real Sardinian excellence. Not only is it a Slow Food presidium but it is also present in Typical Agri-Food Products (PAT). This type of pasta is becoming more and more rare because in modern times there are few ladies who preserve the once most widespread tradition of preparing Su Filindeu linked to the religious festival of San Francesco di Lula in Barbagia, near Nuoro, a tradition passed down from mother to daughter up to the present day.

For centuries, during the nights of May 1st and October 4th, pilgrims arrive at the rural sanctuary of San Francesco di Lula, built in the 17th century and renovated in 1795, after departing on foot from the church of the Rosario in Nuoro, about 30 km away. Upon their arrival, the priors offer them a substantial plate of soup, based on sheep broth, with the addition of pecorino curd.

But it is not a humble dish, because inside that soup is cooked God's pasta: Su Filindeu.

The process to prepare it is not simple because it requires expert manual skills and a lot of patience. The dough is minimal, made up of durum wheat semolina and water but is worked manually for an hour, constantly hydrating it with salted water until it reaches the ideal elasticity. The dough, in pieces of 3.5 ounces each, is first rolled into cylinders and then "pulled" by hand and folded in two, then in four and so on up to 8 times, obtaining a series of 256 long threads as thin as hair. These are laid on a round surface of half a meter in diameter made of asphodel leaves. The surface is covered with parallel threads and two more layers of threads are laid on top, crossing them at about sixty degrees and left to dry in the sun. 

A piece of Filindeu scents of durum wheat, its consistency is fragile with its crossed, very thin, fairy-like threads. Looking at it, it seems impossible that it was made by a woman and not a fairy. Against the light it is a golden meshwork, almost a precious, thin and transparent woven fabric.

His name has an ancient sound. The origin is controversial. Some say that this pasta is Arab and brought to Sicily after its conquest, and that the name derives from the Arabic "fidaws", which means hair. Others say it comes from the Spanish “fideos”, which means threads. Being the peculiarity of this pasta is its preparation, legend has it that the secret of the processing was "stolen" by the maids of the noble Spanish Gallisay family looking through the lock.

But the suffix “deu”, which gave the pasta the popular name of Filindeu, takes us to the “thread of God”; and since its beauty allies happily with the sacred, we arrive at the name Su Filindeu, the pasta of God.

[...] “a kind of soup called “filindeu”. It is a very special soup on these occasions; it looks like a thick veil and its name perhaps means "thread of God"... Lunch consists of meat and "filindeu", which is seasoned with fresh cheese, and which turns out to be a very thick and delicious soup”. (Grazia Deledda "Tradizioni popolari di Nuoro")


Written by Daniela Toti

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