Fregola is a type of semolina pasta which you will find all over Sardinia which is cooked more like a risotto for a different texture to other pasta dishes. Bottarga is also a typical Sardinian product, it is a hard paste made from either mullet or red tuna eggs with a distinctive strong flavor.
Recommended wine pairing: Granazza Maria Abbranca, Sannas
The good combination of the strong flavors of this dish with this fascinating native vine, Granazza, is due to the presence of Bottarga, without which the wine would overwhelm the flavor of the clams.
- 320g/11oz Fregola pasta
- 1kg/35oz fresh clams in their shell
- Mullet bottarga, grated to taste
- 500ml/2 cups vegetable broth or stock
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red chili, chopped
- Olive oil
- 100ml/½ cup white wine
- Black pepper
- To start you will need to prepare the clams. They should be very fresh and have been left to soak for a few hours in water to purge.
- Brown half the minced garlic in a high-sided pan or wok with two tablespoons of olive oil over low heat for a few seconds.
- Add the clams, turn up the heat, and pour in the white wine. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan during this time until the clam shells are all open.
- Drain the clams, reserving the cooking liquid as this will be used to cook the fregola.
- In the same pan where you cooked the clams, add more olive oil and the other half of the garlic. Let it brown quickly, then add the chopped chili along with some salt and pepper.
- Add the fregola into the pan and let it toast for a few minutes as if it were a risotto.
- Add enough hot vegetable broth to cover the fregola in the pan and allow to simmer for the cooking time stated on the fregola packet.
- Halfway through cooking, add the cooking water from the clams and continue cooking until the fregola is al dente.
- When the fregola is al dente, add the clams and a couple of teaspoons of grated bottarga.
- Mix well and serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a teaspoon of bottarga on each plate.
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