Ingredients (serves one)
100g squid - cleaned, cut into squares and braised (with garlic, thyme, white wine, 1tbs tomato paste)
3g garlic, diced
Thyme, to taste
Salt and black pepper
150g fish stock
60g Mazara shrimps
30g cherry tomatoes
30g tomato sauce
20ml extra virgin olive oil
Sweat the garlic, chilli, shallots, and thyme in a little olive oil. Add the braised squid, dried fregola, a pinch of salt, and fish stock. Leave the fregola to simmer for about six minutes. When it is almost cooked, add the mussels, clams, shrimps, cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce.
When the clams and mussels are open, remove the pan from the heat and finish with the chopped herbs, black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.
Fregola pasta is a close relative to couscous. Both fregola and couscous are fine beads of semolina - fregola is prepared by rubbing semolina and water together, then lightly toasting the beads. This gives it a wonderful nutty flavour. It is also rougher and grainier than couscous.
The origins of fregola pasta are difficult to trace. In Italy the primary region that uses it is Sardinia. Yet the pasta is so similar to couscous that there are several theories placing fregola's origins in the Middle East.
Vermentino di Gallura Arakena, Cantina del Vermentino 2005
An intense wine is needed to match the rich, spicy flavours in this stew, hence this wine made with Vermentino grapes, grown in the north-east of Sardinia and harvested late. It's a rich and complex wine full of ripe fruit flavours.