Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Seafood Fregola – Sardinian Cous Cous with Clams

Fregola is one of the Sardinian versions of pasta; it’s made of semolina and it somewhat resembles cous cous. In this recipe I cooked it like if it were a seafood risotto, with some delicious fresh clams.   If you would like to make your own fregola, you can check out the traditional recipe here: Fregola – Sardinian Couscous

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 80 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins

  • Fish soup: 1 l
  • Clams, small sized, fresh: 500 g
  • Tomatoes, peeled: 200g
  • Fregola: 180 g
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): 4 tbsp
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Chili peppers: about ½ a chili
  • White wine, dry: about 1 glass
  • Parsley, fresh: to taste
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Place the clams in a bowl with plenty of cold, salted water. Leave them to rest for at least one hour, occasionally changing the water; this will help wash away the sand. After one hour, drain the clams and throw away the water. Rinse the clams once more under running water.

Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and add the clams. Pour in the wine and let it simmer on high heat for about 5 minutes, covered with a lid. Leave the clams to cool.

Mince the parsley and peel the garlic cloves.

Fry up the garlic and the chili in another pan, along with 2 tbsp of oil. Add the tomatoes and the parsley and leave it to cook for about 10 minutes. Once ready, turn off the heat and remove the garlic from the sauce.

Once the clams are cold, you can easily shell them; keep aside some whole clams to garnish the plates. Throw away the clams that did not open whilst cooking.

Add the clams and the fregola to the tomato sauce and stir the mixture over medium heat. Pour in enough fish soup to cover the fregola, and keep adding liquid as it evaporates, until the fregola has cooked through. Stir continuously; the process is similar to the one required to prepare a risotto.

Tip: Instead of fish soup, you can also use the water in which you cooked the clams.

After about 10 to 15 minutes, the fregola will be ready to serve. Add salt and pepper if needed, keeping in mind that the fish soup’s taste is usually already very intense. Garnish each plate with some fresh parsley and some whole clams.

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