The first time I ate fregola pasta was in 2009 at Nancy Silverton’s restaurant Mozza. My friend Michele and I had gone there for our birthday dinner, and I wrote a detailed post about it. I had a lamb dish where the fregola and sauce were hidden under the slices of meat. It is so much fun to eat a new food for the very first time.
Fregola is a type of pasta that originated on the Italian island of Sardinia. It is made from coarsely ground semolina and water, and has a deliciously nutty flavor because it is toasted in an oven. When you eat toasted bread, you know the flavor of the browned wheat dough? Well, that is the flavor of the fregola. Toasted. It is unusual and interesting. I got my fregola at Bristol Farms, and you can also get it on-line at Amazon.
I made my fregola salad fairly simple this time, because it is part of an upcoming dish I’m making with lamb and tahini sauce. If you are serving it as a pasta salad or side, you could add roasted veggies, or olives and herbs. You could also use it as the pasta with your various pasta sauces. I am planning to use it in a Sardinian dish with squid and tomato sauce with currants. Very fun. I hope you try it.
Fregola with Feta & Arugula with Sesame Sauce
Serves 4 – 6
1 ¼ cups fregola pasta
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 garlic clove
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon honey
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 handfuls arugula
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
1. Cook the fregola according to package directions until tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl to cool.
2. In a mortar and pestle, pound the coriander, garlic and salt to a puree. Add the sesame seeds paprika and honey and pound to a chunky paste. Pour in olive oil and lemon juice until a thick sauce forms.
3. Pour the sesame lemon sauce over the fregola and mix thoroughly. Add the arugula and feta and fold in.
4. Transfer to serving bowl or individual salad plates and garnish with sesame seeds.