Fregola Sarda with Asparagus and Lemon

fregola tastefood

If you have never tried Fregola Sarda, then you should. Fregola (also known as fregula) is a semolina pasta hailing from Sardinia, Italy. It’s quite similar to pearl couscous which is made of wheat. It consists of tiny rolled balls which have been sun-dried then toasted, lending a satisfying and unique nutty flavor and mottled texture. Fregola is delicious on its own, served simply with olive oil, sea salt and a dusting of cheese, in  soups, or combined with vegetables and fresh herbs as a side dish or light meal.

Fregola Sarda with Asparagus and Lemon

Serves 4

1 pound fregola
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 pound thin asparagus
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the fregola and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes or per package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to coat.
Cut the stalks of the asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces while keeping the tips intact. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the asparagus stalks and tips. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Saute until asparagus brightens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus are crisp tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and add to the fregola. Add the Pecorino and toss to combine. If the fregola are too sticky, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve warm with additional black pepper. 

28 thoughts on “Fregola Sarda with Asparagus and Lemon

  1. What an interesting ingredient. I’ve read about Fregola before but never tried them. You have inspired me to seek them out.

  2. Never tried it but now I’m certain to make some. We live close to Little Italy so I will search there. So eager to cook now that vacation is over!

  3. Interesting! Hadn’t heard of this pasta type but look forward to tracking some down soon. Thanks for a consistently wonderful blog!

  4. Oh yes! We enjoyed this last summer when we vacationed in Sardinia!
    Now we’re getting ready for a more local vacation on Cape Cod. Kind of off the topic, but your post got me thinking about how great vacations are for discovering new foods 🙂

  5. I have to try and find the fregola! They sound like I would love them – a nutty texture in a pasta. Oh I think I would be in heaven with a little olive oil and lemon and some good cheese sprinkled over the top. Yum!

  6. ooo interesting – i’ve seen this pasta before but now i know it’s name –fregola! thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. I used to own a pasta manufacturing company, but I don’t know this pasta. You stumped me. Where in Marin can I buy it?

    1. Rick: You can find it in the rice/grains section of Woodlands or pasta section in WF. Thanks for commenting! – Lynda

  8. I love fregola sarda, the first time I cooked it I messed it up by overcooking, but the second time was perfect.

    not easy to find where I live, but I also keep an eye open for it…

  9. I am sorry to say I have never heard of Fregola. So sad because this looks amazingly delicious. I am hoping I can find it around here. And, the combination of zest and chili flakes. Thanks for posting this!

  10. Looks si tasty and very original. I love the flavor combination of asparagus and lemon. I’ve never seen fregola at my local market (but have cooked Israeli couscous). At first, I thought it was a sago pearl salad 🙂

  11. I have NEVER cooked fregola, but am a huge fan of Israeli couscous so I know I’ll just love it. Garlic, lemon and asparagus? Yes, please.

  12. I have never tried Fregola, but now must! Cookin’ Canuck and I would love if you linked up this recipe & any 2 other side dishes in this weeks Get Grillin’ event posted on both of our blogs.

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