Fregola is a favourite summer thing to have – at home, at the park, at the beach, you name it.
Similar in shape and texture to pearl couscous, fregola consists of small balls of durum wheat flour, dried and toasted, and comes in a mix of colours, from pale golden to sienna. The flavour is pleasantly sweet and nutty, the texture firm, holding its shape perfectly in soups and stews. It is traditionally eaten in a saffron broth with clams, but it is equally good in salads.
Here, I tossed it with roasted aubergines and cherry tomatoes, garlic, lots of basil, pine nuts and Parmesan, but I encourage you to experiment and find your favourite combination.
Fregola with Roasted Tomato and Aubergine
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment; scatter one with the aubergine plus the garlic; on the other, place the cherry tomatoes, cut side down. Season with generous salt, pepper and a spoonful of oil each. Bake for 40-45 minutes, checking halfway through and turning the aubergine pieces if needed. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the fregola and cook for 10-12 minutes, until al dente but cooked through. Drain, then transfer it back to the same pot, and season with the remaining oil. Stir in the seasoning – aubergine and tomato – and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and roughly torn basil leaves. Give it another stir to combine. Serve warm, with generous grated Parmesan.Print recipe