You say fregula , I say fregola ......Having dinner at Ray's Boathouse the other night turned me on to a pasta I had never tried before-fregola. I loved it at Ray's with calamari and I knew I wanted to try and cook it myself. So off I went to the internet in search of recipes using fregola. I came across Anna's Seafood Fregola in The Independent and it just sounded too good to resist.
Uncooked fregula from Wikimedia Commons by Emily Parkhurst
Have you cooked Fregola before? It's commonly described as a large couscous. And according to Wikipedia: Fregula (also fregola) is a type of pasta from Sardinia. It is similar to Israeli couscous. Fregula comes in varying sizes, but typically consists of semolina dough that has been rolled into balls 2-3 mm in diameter and toasted in an oven. I found it at Metropolitan Market in West Seattle. Everything I read on the Internet talked about the horrors of cooking it and having hard little marbles or mushy overcooked ones ! Needless to say I followed the cooking instructions very carefully, stirring it consistently while keeping it covered with fish stock so it would cook to that perfect al dente stage. It took about 40 minutes but it was well worth it.
Anna's Seafood Fregola
Adapted from a recipe by Anna Pino
"Anna is from Sardinia where fregola, a lentil shaped pasta, is made. It can be served with meat or chicken but frutti di mare is the most typical accompaniment. It is found in delis over here but is becoming more popular and therefore can sometimes be found in supermarkets and is sometimes referred to as large couscous."
3 oz extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped -I love anchovy fillets so I used the whole can
Half a red chili, finely chopped -I also love red chilies so I used 2 of them !
8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved-ditto for the tomatoes, I added almost a pound of heirloom cherry tomatoes
Good pinch of salt
Good pinch of pepper
1 lb fresh clams
3/4 - 1lb squid rings
12 raw king prawns
1 lb mussels
6 oz white wine
1 lb small fregola
1-2 oz parsley, roughly chopped
About 4 cups of fish stock
2 oz butter
In a non-stick frying pan heat the oil and when hot add the garlic, chili, anchovy fillets. Give it a stir and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the clams, mussels, prawns and squid. Remove the garlic and cover with a lid for five minutes or until the shellfish have opened. Add the white wine and reduce for a couple of minutes. Remove the clams and mussels, leaving the prawns behind. Add the fregola and pour over some of the fish stock until it is just covered. Stir for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes. Keep on adding fish stock as necessary until the fregola is cooked “al dente”. When it is nearly ready, put back the clams and mussels and add the chopped parsley. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the butter and serve with a good crusty bread, a fresh green salad and a nice chilled chardonnay. Bon Appetit !