Fregola ai Funghi
Sardinian Fregula with Mushrooms
Fregula (often Italianised as fregola) is a peppercorn-shaped pasta typical of the Italian island of Sardinia. Made with semola and water, it has a nutty flavour and irregular colour and texture.
My Middle Eastern and North African friends will probably notice a similarity to Berkoukes or Moghrabieh…they are also cooked in very similar ways and fregola is often called Sardinian couscous. It is also very similar to giant couscous which you can use in this recipe too.
Traditionally, it is cooked like risotto and not like pasta, meaning the fregola is mixed to the other ingredients in a pot, to which small amounts of stock or water are added ladle by ladle, allowing the pasta to absorb the liquid before adding more. This is so that the gluten from the pasta can create a super creamy consistency.
Ingredients (for 2)
1 clove garlic
200g button mushrooms
A handful of dried shiitake
A handful of dried porcini
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle on top
A bunch of fresh parsley
160g fregola (you can replace this with pearl / giant couscous)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp tomato concentrate
1.5 l vegetable stock
Dice and set aside: onion, garlic, button mushrooms, dried shiitake and dried porcini (both previously soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained) and a small carrot
Heat the oil and add the parsley, chopped finely. Sauté for 20-30 seconds, then add in the fregola followed by all the diced onion, garlic and all mushrooms. Mix well and season with salt, pepper and bay leaf.
Stir in the tomato concentrate (or puree) and start adding vegetable stock, one ladle at a time. As soon as most of the liquid is absorbed, add one more ladle.
Check the fregola and make sure it doesn’t get overcooked. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and more black pepper.
Word of the Day
(Mushrooms, pronounced fùn-ghee)