Fregola is a Sardinian cross between pasta and couscous. I’ve been seeing it in shops lately and bought some. There are a few recipes for it and for other Sardinian delights in The Sardinian Cookbook: The Cooking and Culture of a Mediterranean Island by Viktorija Todorovska. I enjoyed learning more about Sardinia from this cookbook. The island has Spanish, French, Italian and Moorish influences. An interesting bit of history remains there in the more than 7,000 stone towers, or nuraghi, built in the Bronze Age by the Nuraghic people. Shepherding was and still is a popular way of life on Sardinia, and so are sheep’s milk cheeses like pecorino. You may have heard of the delicacy bottarga (fish roe that is salted and dried) that is found here. Sardinia has a unique bread, a thin crisp bread known as pane carasau. I’ve seen a lot of Sardinian wine as of late, and I think it’s very good. The national drink of Sardinia is a liqueur called mirto made from myrtle berries.
From the cookbook, I made the baked fregola with pecorino, a perfect dish for Lent or for cold weather. It’s warm, filling comfort food. Be sure to have some Italian bread to sop up the sauce. I followed the recipe in the book but used water instead of vegetable stock. It calls for young and aged pecorino so I used Toscano pecorino for the young and Locatelli for the old. This dish will be among my rotation of pasta dishes.