Today I have a special treat for you all. I’ve been getting busy in the kitchen making some rustic Sardinian pasta. These delightful chewy & nutty Semolina pearls also resemble those delicious balls of Israeli couscous. Fregola takes time, Fregola takes care but I promise the results are, oh so worth it.
There’s been a bit of Fregola lovin’ around on the web, some here on Back Road Journal (Fregola with Vongole) and also here on Masterchef Australia with Giovanni Pilu, for those lucky folks in Australia you should be able to watch the clip too.
These precious grains are also worth a king’s ransom too and I would never say no to truffle love.
Should make a sufficient amount for 2 mains and (a bit left over) for another day. There’s enough here for four entree portions too,
1 & 1/2 cup of Course grit semolina and tepid water, (as needed)
Finely chopped mushrooms, (I purchased a kings ransom of Oyster, Swiss Brown & Flat mushrooms,)
Salt & Pepper
Stock, veggie or brown meat stock, up to you,
Lemon zest and a squeeze of juice to cut the richness
Truffle salt or oil *optional*
You’ll need a couple of frying pans, a mixing bowl, a couple of wooden spoons and clean fingers!
Wash and peel the mushrooms, slice them finely and sauté in some olive oil with a couple of whole cloves of garlic. Add in a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf, a few tablespoons of stock and simmer on low.
Keep cooking until most of the liquid evaporates, remove the garlic cloves and season with a little salt & pepper,
Pour the semolina into a mixing bowl and organise a smaller bowl of tepid water. Flick a few drops into the semolina and stir with your fingers in a circular motion.
Keep bringing together the semolina with a few drops of water (bit by bit) until small balls start to form into little lumps. I like to pinch little balls of the dough to form the Fregola too.
Or sift out the semolina and keep the flecks of fregola smaller.
Toast in a dry pan until the balls dry up a little more, (they will be quite hard.) You can set them aside for use on another day or continue to the next step.
The little bits of browned semolina in the bottom of the pan add a nice nutty note to the pasta, (or if you prefer without, sift until they are removed.)
Add a large spoonful of mushroom ragout to the pan with the Fregola and toss. Simmer with a splash of water until tender or Al dente.
Dress the Fregola with some shredded Parsley, lemon zest and if you’re feeling decadent, truffle salt or oil to finish… mangiamo!