Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups Sardegna

Sardinian Fregula Pasta with Clams

Fregula Sarda con le Vongole. Fregula pasta is typical of the island of Sardinia. Fregula has a spherical shape and is made with coarsely ground semolina and water. It falls under the Pasta category, it has the particularity of having been previously toasted and it’s sold like this. Fregula with clams is one of the typical Sardinian dishes where Fregula is cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, garlic, white wine and fresh chopped parsley, as if it were a risotto since the fish broth is added to it from time to time, making it soft and very tasty. Sometimes a sprinkling of mullet roe is added instead of or together with the parsley.

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 1 hr | Cooking time: approx 30 mins

  • Packed Fregula pasta: 180 g
  • Fish broth: 1 lt
  • Clams, fresh or frozen: 500 g
  • Cold water, 1 lt
  • Sea Salt, 35 g
  • Peeled Tomatoes, 200g
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): 4 tbsp
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Dry White wine, about a glass
  • Chopped Parsley, to taste
  • Grated mullet roe (Bottarga di Muggine), a tbsp – optional
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Tip: If you use fresh clams, soaking them in salt water is necessary as they must first be purged. It is therefore important to dose the water and salt to reproduce a salt water similar to sea water. The dosage is 35 g of sea salt per litre of water.

Put the clams in a bowl with cold water and salt for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 4 hours, changing the water from time to time; this will help wash away the sand and impurities. Drain the clams and discard the water. Rinse the clams once more under running water.

Alternatively, you can use frozen clams that have already been cleaned and drained.

Prepare the fish stock and keep it warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons of Evoo in a frying pan and add the clams. Turn up the heat, pour in the wine and leave to cook for about 5 minutes with a lid. As soon as the clams open, turn off the heat. Throw away the clams that did not open while cooking. Filter the water from the clams with a fine-mesh strainer and keep it aside because it will be added to the fregola during cooking along with the fish stock, which must be warm.
Shell the clams, perhaps keeping some whole ones aside to garnish the dish at the end.

In another pan, heat 2 tablespoons of Evoo, sauté the garlic clove, then add the peeled tomatoes, cook for about 10 minutes, then add the fregula to the tomato sauce, stir and add the clam water kept aside, mix everything over medium heat. Now pour in enough fish broth to cover the fregula and keep adding it until the fregula has cooked through. Add some chopped parsley, stir continuously: as we said the cooking process is similar to the one required to prepare a risotto.

Garnish each plate with more chopped fresh parsley or a sprinkling of grated mullet roe, Bottarga di muggine.

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