Fregola Sarda with Tomato, Pecorino, and Basil

By James Durazzo
September 16, 2012
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Author Notes: When I first saw Fregola at my grocery store, it seemed rare, but after experimenting with it, I learned that it can be cooked like a risotto, simmered in stock, or even boiled, drained, and dressed like a salad. I always keep this around for late night meals, it's hearty, and it gets better as it sits by absorbing the liquid that you cook it in. It reminds me of "Acini di Pepe" (little round pasta balls) that I would eat as a child with butter and Parmigiano-Regianno cheese. Fregola has become that comforting to me. I like to sweat some onions or a shallot with some garlic and parsley, then add in my Tomatoes which have been passed through a food mill. As the fregola simmers in the tomato it swells with flavor. The Pecorino cheese adds some sharpness and saltiness to the dish, then it gets rounded out with fresh torn basil leaves, a drizzle of fine Extra Virgin Olive oil, and some freshly ground black pepper. Try it for yourself, it's curbed my late night appetite many times. I make a few different versions, but this is the one I usually gravitate towards.James Durazzo

Serves: 2-4

  • 3 cups (La Casa Del Grano) Fregola Sarda
  • 1 Small-Medium shallot finely minced
  • 1 Clove of Garlic finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 1-1/2 cups Canned Tomatoes strained or passed through a Food Mill
  • 1 cup Unsalted Chicken Stock or Water
  • 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Finely grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 1 handful Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Finely mince the shallot, garlic, and parsley
  2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add the shallot, garlic, and half of the parsley, Sweat over medium heat.
  3. Once the shallot and garlic start to give off aroma and are nicely sweat, add in the tomato, let this come to a low simmer, next add in the chicken stock or water.
  4. Once this comes back to a simmer, add the fregola to the skillet, and stir to combine. Cover the skillet, and reduce heat to low, let the fregola simmer in the tomato until it is chewy but slightly al dente.
  5. When the fregola is cooked, most of the liquid should be absorbed. Add in the remaining parsley, remove from heat, and stir in the Pecorino cheese. Transfer to a platter, and add in the torn basil leaves, a drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil, and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Serve with additional Pecorino cheese.

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