This Sardinian fregola with clams only uses a few ingredients but has such a wonderful flavor. It's easy to make, comforting but not too heavy, and a delicious meal any night of the week.
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I don't know if it's just that I've become aware of it more recently, but fregola seems to be gaining popularity in restaurants in our area. I'll admit it was new to me, but I was intrigued to try it and play around.
When I came across this traditional Sardinian fregola recipe, I knew it was one we had to try. And as expected, it was delicious.
What is fregola?
Fregola is a traditional Sardinian pasta, similar in shape and size to Israeli couscous (also called giant couscous). Fregola is different, however, in that it is toasted which adds a definite layer of flavor. It adds a certain nuttiness, which comes through in the cooked pasta.
This style of pasta draws on the Moorish influence on the island. It can sometimes be a little tricky to find, but you can buy it online if you don't find it locally (affiliate link).
There are various ways to use fregola, and you can use it much like any other pasta. But serving it in a relatively soup-like sauce with seafood, especially clams, is a popular Sardinian way to prepare it. And it's delicious in it's simplicity.
How to make Sardinian fregola with clams
There are a few ways to make this, it seems, but I particularly drew on this recipe as I loved the one pot simplicity.
- Lightly cook the garlic then add the tomatoes and white wine.
- Put the clams in the pan, cover and steam.
- Remove clams as they open, then add fregola and stock to the pan.
- Leave until fregola is cooked then divide into bowls, topping with the clams and parsley.
You can change the number of clams up or down as you prefer, but the number I have here is enough, I think, to get a good sense of the flavor without it costing a fortune. Remember you will get extra flavor from the clam juice coming out of the clams as they cook.
Clams can be sandy, given where they live, so make sure they are cleaned well before you cook them. Usually your fishmonger will have cleaned them - it's worth checking if you are unsure.
Some people prefer to cook the clams separately just in the wine so you can then strain the liquid in case of any sand, but I didn't find a problem cooking in the main sauce. Feel free to do so, though, if you are nervous.
This Sardinian fregola with clams is all you would expect in a traditional Italian pasta recipe - simple ingredients that come together easily to make a fresh and flavorful dish. The pasta is gently nutty, the sauce is full of flavor and all is one delicious meal.
Looking for more seafood pasta recipes? Try these:
- Scallop pasta with white wine and garlic
- Fish ragu
- Crab pasta
- Pasta with clams and sausage
- Plus get more seafood recipes in the archives.
Sardinian fregola with clams
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup white wine dry best
- 12 clams approx, medium, more if small
- 1 cup fregola pasta
- 2 cups fish stock or eg vegetable/chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley to serve
- Finely chop the garlic and thoroughly wash the clams.
- Warm the oil in a medium-large pan over a medium-low heat and add the garlic. Cook a minute to soften but take care not to let it burn.
- Add the tomatoes and wine to the pan and warm through to a simmer.
- Add the clams into the tomatoes, cover the pan and allow the clams to steam. As the clams open, remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm, if possible. If any don't open after a reasonable time cooking (ie same as rest) then discard as they may not be good to eat.
- Once clams have all been removed, add the fregola and stock to the sauce, stir through well. Cover with the lid slightly open to vent and cook for around 15 minutes until fregola is tender but still slightly al dente. Check the seasoning of the sauce and add a little salt and pepper, as needed (unlikely to need salt but may need pepper).
- Divide the fregola and sauce between bowls, top with the clams and a little parsley. Serve immediately.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Sharing as part of a fish for Good Friday-themed Fish Friday Foodies. See all the ideas:
- Crab Deviled Eggs by Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Fish and Tots by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Fiskefrikadeller med Karry (Fish Cakes with Curry) by Sid's Sea Palm Cooking
- Green Chilly Pesto Fried Fish by Sneha's Recipe