Fregola or fregula is a Sardinian pasta grain made from wheat and is similar to middle-eastern couscous. It is cooked by boiling it in salted water in exactly the same way as any other pasta and takes about the same time to cook – 10-12 minutes – even though it is made of tiny grains.
Fregola is a cleverly constructed pasta: each grain has a threaded texture which helps it to pick up dressings and sauces (you’ll see it if you look closely at the grains in our photograph above).
Read food writer Edward Schneider’s article ‘Cooking Off the Cuff: Fregula and Arugula, an Aromatic Match’ in the Huffington Post. (Follow Edward Schneider on Twitter here to receive a reminder of his weekly blog posts).
Fregola soaks up flavour and is the star in a classic Italian recipe where you cook it al dente and toss it with clams (this recipe for Fregola With Clams from Bon Apétit suggests that you cook it ‘rare; for just 6-8 minutes before adding it to the dish where it is further cooked in the clam broth).
Diana Henry, the Telegraph food writer and James Beard Award Winner describes fregola delightfully as ‘the size and shape of hailstones’. Here is her recipe for Griddled Courgettes, Burrata and Fregola Salad.
Try Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for Roasted Lemon and Fregola Salad with a plethora of herbs and flowers including basil, mint, parsley, dill, thyme and lavender flowers. (Use only what you have in the fridge or growing in a pot or garden or it could end up as the simplest most expensive salad you’ve ever made once you buy a packet of every herb!)
The New York Times Cookery team have put together a variety of recipes using fregola: try Fregola with Corn and Parmesan; Country Ragout With Fregola; Quail With Fregola and Olives and Fregola With Artichokes, Feta, Toasted Almonds and Herbs
Photograph copyright foodpixies.com