Fregola is a toasted pasta from Sardinia, made with hard durum wheat flour. The tiny uneven pearls are toothsome, perfect for tossing with fresh basil, ribbons of endives, hazelnuts and currants. Hard-boiled eggs are grated and piled on top, adding heft to an otherwise light dish. Remember to crisp the capers in oil over medium high heat until they’re bursting and dark. Almost the same size as fregola, they’ll hide in the pasta and surprise you with much welcomed saltiness. Cook, relax, and enjoy!
What you’ll need:
1 oz hazelnuts
5 oz fregola
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons capers
1 medium endive
fresh basil sprigs
2 tablespoons currants
1 large egg
freshly ground pepper
rimmed baking sheet
Boil water and toast nuts
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until fragrant and skin is cracking. Roll the hazelnuts between two paper towels to remove most of their skin. Put back in the oven for a few minutes if skins are still on. Roughly chop and set aside.
Place egg in a small pot and cover with water by ½ inch. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Place egg in iced water for 2 minutes. Peel egg and grate on a box grater. Toss with a couple of pinches of salt and set aside.
Add fregola to boiling water. Cook until al dente (not mushy), 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and shake off as much residual moisture as possible.
Cook garlic and capers
Meanwhile, peel and smash garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet. Add capers and garlic and cook over medium heat until capers burst and start to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Discard garlic and set skillet with oil and capers aside; season with salt.
Trim end of endive and cut into ½ inch ribbons. Remove basil leaves from stems and tear leaves. Finely grate zest of lemon.
Transfer fregola to a large bowl. Pour contents of the skillet on top and toss to combine. Squeeze lemon juice into bowl, add lemon zest, currants, endive, basil, and most of the hazelnuts. Toss again. Serve on a platter. Finish with grated eggs and remaining hazelnuts. Enjoy!