Frègula Sarda

In the Mediterranean island of Sardegna (Sardinia), locals call this pasta “frègula.” In current Italian, it is known as “fregola.” At home, Chef Rosario simply calls it a delicious pasta option!

Fregula Sarda

Frègula resembles a large size cous-cous, but it is also reminiscent of other “berry sized” pasta varieties, like “acini pepe” or orzo. The word frègula derives from the Italian verb “sfregolare,” which describes the action of hand rolling the dough against a terracotta surface. The Sardinian version is made with 100% durum wheat semolina and pure water. Once shaped, it is lightly toasted to a golden color and “ecco fatto,” it’s ready for this delicious recipe!


  • 1 1/2 cups Frègula Sarda alternatively, use orzo pasta, acini pepe or large cous-cous
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red chile pepper, fresh or dry, with the seeds removed, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 4 cups Homemade shrimp or vegetable broth
  • 1 celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 12 ounces large shrimp, preferably shell-on
  • Fresh marjoram or oregano, chopped
  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Lemon zest
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt to taste


  1. Peel and de-vein the shrimp, reserving the shells for the broth. Make broth by heating the shells in a little olive oil and adding a handful of roughly diced carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, parsley stems and a bay leaf. Cook for one minute with a little olive oil; then add water and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer until needed. If you use pre-peeled shrimp, use a light vegetable broth instead.
  2. In a large casserole start the soffritto: add EVOO, onions, garlic and chili peppers. Cook on medium heat until golden (not brown).
  3. Add frègula and sauté for a minute.
  4. Add wine and cook to evaporate alcohol.
  5. Add capers, tomatoes, and saffron. Once heated through, add 1 cup of the simmering broth. Stir occasionally. Add broth in 1 cup increments as needed to keep the frègula moist and brothy.
  6. When the pasta is almost cooked “al dente” (10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the pasta grains) add shrimp and cook for a couple minutes more (or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F). Remove shrimp from pot to avoid overcooking and set them aside.
  7. The frègula is ready when all the broth has been absorbed and it has reached a creamy, risotto-like consistency.
  8. Remove from heat, add herbs, and stir thoroughly. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates. Place the cooked shrimp on top and sprinkle with freshly grated lemon zest.

Yield: 2 servings

Sommelier’s Notes

Sella & Mosca 2017 La Cala (Vermentino di Sardegna) - Sardegna, Italy

Vermentino is a white wine grape indigenous to the western Mediterranean. It thrives in northwestern Italy, southern France, and the nearby islands of Corsica and Sardegna (Sardinia).

This pleasing wine offers herbaceous Mediterranean flavors heightened with hints of pineapple and citrus.

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