13 September 2013

Fregola Grossa

A few months ago a very lovely foodie friend of ours gathered up her savings, took her courage in both hands and headed up the hill to Highgate to fulfil the dream of a lifetime. Emine found a rundown little shop carried out a major upgrade and launched "Limone" a new bijou delicatessen. Conveniently its just up the road from our good friend and sometime co-chief Rebecca. Behind its cute Victorian window the shop is bursting with hand baked breads, rare olive oils and bespoke goodies which are already proving a wonderful, much needed and very popular addition to the Highgate high street scene!

Shortly after the opening we were sitting at one of the little bistro tables wedged between the wicker baskets of crusty loaves sipping an oversized beaker of delicious hand roasted coffee and nibbling a delectable home made chocolate and walnut cake.  We had the perfect opportunity to eye up Emine's very personal and unusual selection of foods and vowed to take home some ingredients which we had never cooked before. Among those items which prompted our curiosity were the packages of fregola grossa which could easily be mistaken for very large irregular grains of cous cous or even a breakfast cereal crunch but is actually an unusual (here at least) type of pasta made with semolina dough from Sardinia.

If you decide to give this one a go you will wind up with a delicious dish which is similar to a risotto or paella but made with pasta of course. Classically it is cooked with tomato sauce and clams and is a wonderful and very filling winter warmer. The recipe below is a basic version but please feel free to try your own variations. If you are feeling really indulgent try adding your own favourite shell fish such as prawns or mussels or a strongly flavoured chorizo or smoked sausage. For added flavour and appeal sprinkle each serving with flakes of parmesan cheese before serving.


100g Fregola grossa
1 Litre carton Tomato juice
1 Red onion (finely chopped)
2 Large Tomatoes (chopped)
2 Gloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large glass white wine
2 large bacon rashers coarsely diced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 or 3 bulbs fennel cut into quarters
Large knob butter
Handful coriander
Dash Woscester Sauce
Dash Tabasco
Salt and Pepper


Melt the butter in a deep frying pan and add the onions garlic then the bacon and tomatoes and fennel cook gently for a few minutes until the onions become translucent and the fennel begins to soften. Add the wine and cook for a further few minutes to burn off the alcohol before adding the tomato juice. Pour in the uncooked fregola and stir through the liquid. Allow the pasta to absorb the liquid slowly. Add the Woscester sauce, lemon juice, tabasco and seasoning. Cover and stir occasionally until the fragola is soft but still slightly al dente. Further season to taste and garnish with torn coriander leaves.

Posted by incredibly fed


  1. Am making this on Sunday - thanks - although i may add finely chopped chillies instead of tabasco - viva incredibly fed, viva limone

    1. It's a very flexible recipe so chopped chillies would be great too as would peppers etc. Good luck. Let us know how you get on...