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Ingredient Profile: Fregola

Fine Cooking Issue 80
Photo: Scott Phillips
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Buy fregola, or make your own toasted pasta

Fregola, also known as succu or Sardinian couscous, is made from coarsely ground semolina and water. Compared to the more familiar North African style of couscous, which is very small and light, fregola is larger and more toothsome, and it has a deliciously nutty flavor because it’s toasted.

Unless you have a good Italian specialty store in your area, fregola can be hard to find. So if you want to make Fregola with Grill-Marinated Red Peppers & Zucchini and you can’t find fregola you can order it online from igourmet.com or GourmetSardinia.com, where 1-lb.packages of Sardinian fregola are $6. Alternatively you can substitute. We got great results using acini di pepe, a tiny spherical pasta that’s often added to soup. It’s available in many supermarkets. Israeli couscous and orzo or other tiny pasta shapes are also options.

To mimic the nutty flavor of fregola, toast the pasta or Israeli couscous in a large, dry skillet over medium- low heat, tossing occasionally, until it browns a bit, about 10 minutes. If using Israeli couscous, rinse it with cold water for 10 seconds after boiling to prevent overcooking. Pasta substitutes don’t need to be rinsed.

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