Fregola with Clams
- SERVINGS: 6 FIRST-COURSE SERVINGS
Fregolaalso known as fregulais the missing link between pasta from Italy and couscous from North Africa. It is made from semolina, like couscous, but is cooked in ample liquid, like pasta. Fregola is made by home books throughout Sardinia; it can be purchased at specialty stores in the U.S.
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- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 4 dozen small Manila clams or cockles, scrubbed and rinsed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 4 cups light chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1/2 pound large fregola (1 1/2 cups)
- In a large saucepan, combine the olive oil with the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Cook over moderate heat until the garlic is softened but not browned. Add the clams, cover and cook over moderately high heat for 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley and the wine, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring, until all of the clams have opened, 5 to 8 minutes total. As the clams open, transfer them to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
- Pour the clam juices into a clean large saucepan, stopping before you reach any sediment at the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, season with salt and bring to a boil.
- Gradually add the fregola, a little at a time so that the stock never stops boiling, and cook until it is just tender, about 10 minutes. Fold the clams into the fregola and cook until heated. Spoon the fregola into shallow bowls, garnish with parsley and serve.
The simple flavors here would be best complemented by a refreshing white with a slightly salty edge. A Sardinian Sauvignon Blanc would be ideal. A Portuguese Vinho Verde with a slight sparkle would also work well.
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