Fregola is a type of baby pasta, some say similar to cous cous, but please do not substitute regular cous cous into this recipe, it's not the same. Fregola is a toasted Sardinian cous cous which is more like dense pasta peas than semolina grains that normal cous cous is. If comparing, fregola is more like Israeli cous cous.
I ordered fregola online as I couldn't find it in stores, but since then it is becoming more readily available, and I have found stores that stock it, some supermarkets and Italian delis also have it. If you do find it, buy a few packets, it's worth it. But if you really can't find fregola rather than substituting a cous cous, use another pasta shape like ditalini or risoni. But in all honesty try and find fregola.
Now to talk about the recipe. When I first found this recipe I knew I wanted to try it. When I started to cook it, I could not believe how fast and easy it was to make, but I was still a little worried that it wouldn't be as good as I would want it to be. Boy was I wrong, this was amazing, every bite absolutely delicious.
This dish can be made in about 20 minutes, including preparation time. It's so quick and easy to make.
For the mussels, I scrape off an ugly bits from the shells and debeard them. For the vongole, I soak them in a bowl of cold tap water for about 5 minutes, to remove any sand they have in them. I change the water a few times and keep doing it, until the water is no longer murky. For the prawns, you can buy the prawns already peeled and deveined, but I tend to buy whole prawns and do it myself. The shells I freeze to make soups, another day.
With the vegeta, I added it as I use it often. I added it as I wanted more flavour in the dish, rather than adding too much salt. The original recipe did not use it.
So if you are looking for a quick and easy dinner idea, this one is fabulous.
500g fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
500g vongole, rinsed
150ml white wine
100ml extra virgin olive oil
8 raw green prawns, peeled and deveined
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley stalks
1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon vegeta, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Flat leaf parsley leaves, to garnish
Heat a large heavy based frying pan over a high heat. Add the mussels, vongole and the wine, cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes to allow the steam to open the shells. As soon as they open lift them out with a slotted spoon into a large bowl, set aside until needed. Discard any that have a broken shell or that won't open.
Strain the liquid into a jug, set aside until needed.
Add 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil to the same pan, add the prawns and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until just cooked, Remove from the pan, set aside until needed.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the rest of the oil. Now add the shallot, parsley stalks, chilli and garlic, saute for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the fregola and stir well to allow all the flavours to mingle. Pour in your reserved mussel liquid and enough water to cover the fregola by 1-2cm ( I added about 750ml), it is best to add less water, then top up with boiled kettle water, if it is drying out before the fregola is cooked, than to add too much water initially. Add vegeta, if using, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the fregola is al dente. The end result you want there to be liquid, but you don't want it to be a soup, like a risotto.
Turn the heat off and add the mussels, vongole and prawns.
Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley leaves and grated lemon zest.
Pin it: www.pinterest.com.au/pin/399413060705582426