A simple recipe for Fregola with Corn, Zucchini and Basil, sprinkled with pecorino. A simple and easy Italian-inspired meal that comes together in 30 minutes.
Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. ~Dalai Lama
I’d love to introduce you to my new favorite pasta, Fregola Sarda! My friend Alan (from the Rocket Market in Spokane) first shared this with me and I’ve been a fan ever since.
What is Fregola?
Fregola or Fregola Sarda is a pearl-shaped pasta, similar to Israeli Couscous, that hails from Sardina, Italy. It is made by hand, by rubbing semolina flour and water together, into tiny pearls, which are then toasted- yielding a beautiful nutty, earthy flavor. The imperfections here make them beautiful.
In this recipe for Fregola pasta, summer corn and zucchini are paired with basil, pecorino and lemon zest- a cozy, end-of-summer meal.
Notice the variations in color here- levels of toastiness, giving the Fregola nuance and complexity.
What you’ll need to make Fregola Pasta
- Fregola Sarda pasta- yes, you could sub Israeli Couscous, but I would suggest toasting it first in an oven or dry skillet.
- Garlic Cloves
- Fresh Corn- or sub frozen corn or roasted corn
- Fresh Basil
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, chili flakes
How to make Fregola with Corn and Zucchini
Set the salted pasta water to boil and prep your veggies. If feeling ambitious char the corn first over a gas burner on the stove ( or on the grill) or feel free to skip this step.
Add the corn and continue sauteeing until the corn is cooked through, yet still snappy.
Drain the pasta, save a cup of pasta water and add the pasta to the skillet. Give a stir.
Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
Stir in the pecorino and fresh basil leaves.
Add a little hot pasta water to create a little creaminess. You can make this quite loose if you like or keep it drier.
Lastly, add the lemon zest of a whole lemon. Taste and adjust salt, and chili flakes to your liking.
Garnish with more pecorino and fresh basil and you are good to go! I like to prepare this like “couscous” consistency, a little drier, but if you crave creaminess, adding more pasta water and more pecorino will achieve this. Or, if still not satisfied, add a few tablespoons of ricotta for extra richness.
Tips on How to cook Fregola:
- Generously season the pasta water with salt -1 tablespoon salt per 8 cups of water.
- Cook the Fregola 8-10 minutes or until the Fregola is tender on the outside, but still, al dente, meaning it still has a little bite to it. (If you overcook it, it will turn to mush, so better to undercook, and then you can continue cooking it in the pan with the zucchini if need be.)
- Remember to save a cup of hot pasta water.
Other recipes you may like:
- Charred Asparagus Kale Pasta with Lemony Cannellini Beans
- Pasta with Broccolini, Preserved Lemon and Chickpeas
- Summer Pasta Salad w/ Grilled Zucchini, Corn and Cilantro Pesto
- Healthy Pasta Recipes! (Vegan-adaptable)
- Greek Pasta Salad
Fregola Sarda Pasta with Corn, Zucchini and Basil, sprinkled with pecorino. A fast and easy Italian-inspired meal that comes together in 30 minutes.
- 8 ounces Fregola pasta ( 1 1/2 cups dry)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 2 medium zucchini ( 3–4 cups diced)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- pinch chili flakes (or Aleppo chili flakes)
- 1 ear corn (2 cups, or use frozen, or frozen roasted ) see notes
- 1/3 cup pecorino cheese
- 15–20 basil leaves
- zest of one lemon
- Optional: 1/4 cup ricotta for extra creaminess
Cook fregola pasta in 8 cups water with 1 tablespoon salt according to directions on the package, cook until al dente and save a cup of hot pasta water.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and zucchini and season with salt, and saute until the zucchini is translucent about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper and chili flakes and cook a few more minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the corn, and continue sauteeing, until the corn is tender, but still a little snappy, about 5-6 minutes.
Add the cooked fregola pasta to the zucchini-corn mixture, drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil, stir in the pecorino, basil and lemon zest. Add 1/4-1/2 cup pasta water to loosen, and more if you prefer it more “saucy”.
Garnish with fresh basil and a sprinkling of pecorino.
For extra richness, stir in a little ricotta. See notes.
The pecorino makes this dish.
Feel free to char the corn (on a gas stove or grill) before cutting the kernels off.
This is a drier-style pasta dish just lightly coated in olive oil (kind of like couscous). For extra creaminess or a more saucy consistency, add more pasta water and stir in the ricotta.
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