Fregula sarda (Recipe: fregula sarda with roasted and fresh peppers, feta and basil)
One helpful thing to know about fregula sarda:
It's a Sardinian pasta made of coarse semolina that is toasted after it's dried. (Sometimes you'll see it spelled fregola.) The key word is pasta; if you remember that, you'll think of all sorts of ways to substitute fregula in pasta dishes you already enjoy. Approximately the same size as Israeli couscous but with the nutty flavor that comes from toasting, fregula makes a wonderful risotto or pilaf. I like to add it to vegetable stews as a thickener, too.
Cooking or baking?
In the pantry cupboard for up to one year. After you open the package, transfer leftover fregula sarda to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Fregula sarda with roasted and fresh peppers, feta and basil
A few pantry items and a some basil from the garden came together in this salad. Fregula sarda is a pasta, so if you don't have it, substitute any small pasta (orzo, ditalini, etc.). You'll miss the nutty, toasted flavor of the fregula, though; it really makes this dish. Serves 2 as a main course salad.
4 cups water
1/2 cup fregula sarda
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
A pinch each of kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and diced (store-bought, from a jar, is fine)
1/2 orange or green bell pepper, diced
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
10 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the fregula sarda, reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through.
While the pasta is cooking, make the vinaigrette: whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic in a small measuring cup. Continue whisking, and pour in the olive oil in a slow stream until the vinaigrette emulsifies (comes together and thickens a bit). Pour 2 tablespoons of the dressing into a mixing bowl, and set the rest aside.
Drain the fregula sarda, and add to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Toss together, and let the fregula sit in the dressing. Add the roasted and fresh peppers, feta and basil, and stir well to combine. Stir in as much additional vinaigrette as you wish.
Other recipes that use fregula sarda:
Fregola sarda with zucchini and pinenuts, from Chocolate & Zucchini
Fregula with peas and plum, from Not Eating Out in New York
Fregola sarda with roasted vegetables and wild garlic pesto, from Food Stories
Fregola sarda with eggplant and walnuts, from Rosa Jackson
Seafood soup with fregola, from Brooklynguy's Wine and Food Blog