by Sofia Gallo - @in_cucinacon_sofia
Fregola is an ancient pasta from Sardinia which is made out of durum wheat flour and resembles giant couscous. It is toasted before drying and it gives them a deliciously nutty flavour. I have used this pasta and cooked it as a risotto, to create a comforting warm bowl of food ideal for the colder weather. You can, however, use risotto rise, I’d suggest carnaroli, or even giant couscous for a change.
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 45 min
Makes 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
- 200 g fregola sarda
- 200 g of squash of your choice – I have used half ghost and half kabocha
- 1 shallot thinly chopped
- Mixed herbs: thyme, oregano, rosemary thinly chopped
- ¼ glass of dry white wine - optional
- 750 ml of vegetable broth hot
- 20 g unsalted butter (vegan alternative is also possible)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- Olive oil to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated parmesan to serve – optional
- Sliced pan-fried mushrooms to serve - optional
- Start by making the cream of butternut. Cut your squash into wedges and place on an oven tray or dish. Slice a few slices with a mandolin or by using a knife, that will be later used as decoration. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and your herbs, bake until soft in a preheated oven at 180°C/Gas mark 4. Make sure to remove the thin slices once these are cooked.
- In the meantime, start your risotto. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and your shallot.
- Cook the shallot for a couple of minutes until translucent and then add your fregola.
- Toast the fregola for about 3-4 minutes, steam with white wine, if using, and let evaporate the alcohol.
- Carry on with cooking the fregola, by adding the hot vegetable broth about 150 ml at the time. You may not use all of it, and if so, reserve some for the cream of butternut.
- Once your squash is baked, place this in a container and with an immersion blender, blend the squash to a smooth puree. You could add either some vegetable stock or some cream if you prefer a more liquid consistency. Adjust the seasoning, if required, and set aside.
- Once the fregola is cooked, take off the heat, add the cream of squash, butter and parmesan, and fold until all combined.
- Plate and top with the slices of squash, pan fried mushroom and the pumpkin seeds before serving.
You could use burrata instead of parmesan for topping and also truffle oil for a richer flavour.