Fregola Sarda with Tomato, Pecorino, and Basil

September 16, 2012
11 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2-4
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

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup (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. Add more stock or water to reach desired consistency.
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lorigoldsby
  • Shauna Hutton
    Shauna Hutton
  • Kristopher
  • salena

6 Reviews

Kristopher December 13, 2021
I used this recipe as a template to make a puttanesca version solely because it’s what I had on hand and didn’t know what the pasta was when I bought it, until I found this page. It was fantastic and will definitely try the original as a nice side.
salena November 10, 2020
Thank heavens for the other reviewers. This is a delicious recipe but needs to be corrected. I used one cup of fregola and it makes about three cups. I used a 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes, which I strained. I needed to add more water to the mix at the end so the full can would have been just right. Very tasty and versatile.
SCOTT C. July 5, 2018
So, the flavor is great, but I daresay that the recipe has a typo. I'm guessing that the recipe should call for 1 cup of the Fregola Sarda, rather than the listed 3 cups. Without thinking much about it, I followed the recipe, realizing 1) that I had way more food cooking than I had planned, and 2) that I had to keep adding stock (up to about 3 cups total) to reach al dente. In any case, a great dish, but try it with 1 cup of the Fregola, yo.
Dm November 11, 2018
Thank you Scott. I thought the ratios were off. Just going to make now. Sounds great.
Shauna H. April 11, 2020
Same experience. Something is definitely off with the proportions. But the taste is excellent
lorigoldsby September 16, 2012