This week we have a recipe for fregola sarda from Heidi Swanson as part of our chef collaboration series. Author of Super Natural Every Day and creator of one of our favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks, Heidi creates beautiful vegetarian recipes using whole, natural ingredients. Fregola, or fregula, is a Sardinian pasta made from semolina which is rolled into miniscule balls and toasted. A perfect pasta for those looking to break out from the routine of linguini, spaghetti and rotini, it stands out not only because of its unique shape but also its distinctive nutty flavor.
Fregola seems to have more in common with Israeli couscous and other grains than the Italian pasta we’re used to, probably due to the fact that it originated in North Africa and was brought to Sardinia in the Middle Ages. Perfect for weeknight dinners because of its quick-cooking time and ease of preparation, fregola works as a main dish, a salad, and a side. Heidi’s dish uses fregola in a salad, served at room temperature, but the traditional Sardinian preparation of fregola is a dish with clams and a brothy tomato sauce. Either way, fregola is a memorable alternative to more common types of pasta, working as both a neutral base and a starring ingredient.