Fregola, Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad with Pancetta


Tara Lazar serves this dish at Birba, her pizzeria in Palm Springs, California. It calls for fregola, the traditional Sardinian toasted pasta that’s made from semolina and shaped into large, couscous-like balls.


  1. 3 tablespoons canola oil
  2. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 2 tablespoons honey
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  6. 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  7. 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  8. 1/2 medium shallot, chopped
  9. Salt
  10. Freshly ground pepper
  11. 4 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1/8-inch dice
  12. 1 pound fregola
  13. 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
  14. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  15. Four 3-inch stalks of hearts of palm, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/4 inch thick
  16. Snipped chives, for garnish
  1. In a blender, combine the canola oil with the vinegar, olive oil, honey, lemon juice, thyme, mustard and shallot and blend until smooth. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet.
  3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the fregola, stirring, until al dente, 15 minutes. Drain the fregola, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, add the corn to the pancetta fat in the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 minutes. Add the corn to the fregola.
  5. Add the tomatoes, hearts of palm and pancetta to the bowl and toss gently. Add the vinaigrette and toss again. Season the fregola salad with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large serving bowl, sprinkle with the snipped chives and serve.