heidi swanson’s fregola sarda

This beautiful and vibrant salad is just the kind we’d like to eat in the last days of summer.

By: Anna Decker / 08/19/2015

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 1 lemon 2 tablespoons currants 1 large egg olive oil coarse salt freshly ground pepper


large skillet large pot small pot rimmed baking sheet box grater

Recipe steps:

  1. 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.

  2. Cook egg

    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.

  3. Cook fregola

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. Prepare vegetables

    Trim end of endive and cut into ½ inch ribbons. Remove basil leaves from stems and tear leaves. Finely grate zest of lemon.

  6. Assemble salad

    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!

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