Naomi Hebberoy adores the nutty, toasted flavor and chewy texture of Sardinian fregola. A cross between pasta and couscous, it's made from a dough of coarsely ground semolina and water that is dried, toasted and grated into tiny pearls. Here, Hebberoy tosses it with tender, juicy citrus sections for a hearty grain salad.
Fast Weekday Pastas
In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the fregola with the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and celery until the fregola is al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the fregola and spread it out on a large, rimmed baking sheet to cool. Discard the thyme, bay leaf and celery.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the shallot in the sherry vinegar and lemon juice for 10 minutes. Stir in the preserved lemon peel, mustard and honey. Whisk in the olive oil and season the dressing with salt.
Using a sharp knife, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Cut in between the membranes to release the sections.
In a medium bowl, toss the blood orange sections with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. In a large bowl, fold 1/2 cup of the dressing into the fregola, then spoon into the center of a platter. Put the arugula in the bowl and toss with the remaining 3 tablespoons of dressing. Arrange the arugula and orange sections around the fregola, garnish with the cheese and serve.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated separately overnight. Let the fregola return to room temperature before serving.
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