Friday, July 13, 2007

Presto Pasta Night #20

It's hard to believe that Presto Pasta Night has now reached it's 20th instalment. Three cheers for carbohydrates and for Ruth for all the work she does every week to present, the always delicious, round-up!

Today I'll be using another pasta from Sardinia called Fregola Sarda


You would be right in thinking that it does look a lot like couscous. It's made from a mix of semolina and water and then hand rubbed to form tiny balls. The balls are then dried and toasted to form what you see above.

It's usually found in seafood dishes, whether as a stuffing for calamari or served with a seafood sauce or you can find it used in soups.

I'm going to take a different path and serve it with a mix of roasted baby vegetables and sautéed chicken.


Fregola Sarda with Chicken and Roasted Baby Vegetables

Fregola Sarda
Chicken thigh meat, sliced evenly
Golfball Carrots
Baby Beetroot (beets)
Baby Turnips
Eggplant, sliced into cubes
Red onion, sliced finely
garlic, sliced finely

I'm going to rather vague on quantities as in this type of recipe you really can use whatever vegetables you have on hand or whatever vegetables are you favourite.

I would recommend you keep the vegetables to a uniform size so they cook evenly. Prepare all the vegetables first - Toss them through a little oil and season with salt and pepper and then lay them out on a baking tray. Place them in the oven and cook until they are softened and starting to brown. Some vegetables will cook more quickly than others - just remove them and set them to one side. Once all the vegetables have cooked you can move onto the next stage.

In a deep frypan, add a little oil and a knob of butter and when the butter has melted add the onion and garlic - cook gently until the onion has softened and has started to colour. Remove this from the pan and add it to the roasted vegetables making sure you leave all the onion juices and oil in the pan as this will help flavour the chicken.

Increase the heat slightly and add the chicken slices in batches, so not to lose the heat of the pan - cook until they have browned. When all the chicken is done add all the vegetables (except the beetroot) back into the pan to reheat. It's important that you keep stirring the vegetables so they heat evenly.

The fregola is cooked just like pasta - you can boil them in salted water or stock if you want to impart a little more flavour. When the grains have softened, strain them well to remove any excess water/stock.

Add the fregola to the vegetable mix and toss through - you can keep this on the heat while you do this. When it's well mixed, sprinkle over the beetroot and very gently fold them through. I've done it this way so I only get streaks of red passing through the mix.

Serve onto a large platter or individual bowls.


Note: If you don't want to roast the vegetables you can par-boil them first and then sauté them in the same manner as the chicken. I think using as many different coloured vegetables is part of the appeal of the dish and gives it that jewelled quality.

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  1. Haalo, thanks for the nice mention.

    Oh my goodness, this looks wonderful! I love it! You always share such awesome dishes with Presto Pasta Nights. Thanks!

  2. Haalo, this type of pasta is new to me - I love the way you use it.

  3. Haalo, Wonderful recipe!!....-Poonam

  4. I love learning about new pastas!! I have never heard of this kind before - this dish looks fantastic!

  5. We call this pasta Berkoukess in Algeria and we usually serve it like we would serve couscous, as a stew. But with berkoukess the vegetables are pureed and serve it with chicken or a homemade thick saussage...really yummy. My way of eating Sarda, and my hubby hates it, is with milk, a warm milk soup. My grandma used to give it to me like this. It may sound strange but I love it.
    Have a great weekend Haalo. Hope you are enjoying the winter.

  6. Very cool! I have never heard of this. Your dish looks very tasty!

  7. Thanks Ruth - it's always a pleasure to take part.

    Thanks Patricia!

    Thanks Poonam!

    Thanks Deborah - it has a nice fluffy character.

    Thanks Rose for all that extra information, you've got me wondering if I could use this to make something like this dessert.

    Thanks Chris!

  8. I am sure it would work.


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