I have never cooked Fregola before, and I have to say it was a delightful experience. Fregola is a type of Sardinian pasta similar to Israeli (or pearl) couscous. It is made up of semolina dough that has been rolled into tiny, little balls and oven-toasted. If you can’t find fregola I think pearl couscous would work, but I’m not sure it would have that same toothsome bite. I felt this pasta was a nice transition from Winter to Spring. To me, the warm flavors of bacon and onion bring out the Winter flavors I love, and the peas and fresh mint usher in the first tastes of Spring. The dollops of ricotta provided a luxuriously creamy element. Spring must be here (finally!) because David and I enjoyed this meal on the patio with glasses of Pinot Gris. There is something about the first meal of the season eaten outside that brings me great happiness. To me, there is nothing quite like dining al fresco. Cheers, Bon Appetit, and here’s to some lovely Spring weather and cuisine!
adapted from: Bon Appetit
1 1/4 cup fregola
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
2 ounces bacon (about 3 slices), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 lb. pods) or frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus more for serving
4 ounces ricotta
Cook fregola in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente (you can just barely bite through it-it will cook more later), 6-8 minutes. Drain pasta (do not rinse), reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook bacon, stirring often until bacon is brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until skillet is almost dry, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add fregola and cook, stirring often, until pasta is just al dente (tender, but still firm) and broth has thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add peas and chopped mint and cook, stirring, until peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add pasta cooking liquid as needed to adjust consistency. (I didn’t end up needing any.)
Serve fregola topped with dollops of ricotta, chopped mint, and cracked pepper, and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.