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Mussels with Fennel and Fregola

photo: Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

This recipe comes courtesy of my friend chef Joshua McFadden; a dish similar to this is in our cookbook. I love it so much—it’s fragrant, colorful, and satisfying—that I had to share it here. Feel free to garnish it with a fennel frond or two.


  • 1 cup fregola or Israeli couscous
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 lb. fennel (about 1 medium bulb), trimmed, cored, and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/4 lb. cured chorizo, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; more to taste
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 500
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 280
  • Fat (g): 32
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17
  • Cholesterol (mg): 50
  • Sodium (mg): 730
  • Carbohydrates (g): 33
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Sugar (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 16


  • Cook the fregola or couscous in well-salted water according to package directions until barely al dente. Drain well, toss with a drizzle of oil, and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a 7-quart Dutch oven or similar pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the garlic and set it aside. Add the fennel, season with 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to medium high. Add the mussels, chorizo, and pepper flakes. Return the garlic to the pan and toss. Add the wine, cover, and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. If some are not open, give them another 1 to 2 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels.
  • Add the parsley, zest, juice, and butter, and shake the pan to incorporate. Add the fregola, cover, and remove from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes to warm the fregola. Uncover, toss, and serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with additional parsley, if you like.


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