Known as Sardinian couscous, fregola is an ancient type of pasta that is particularly good in a salad or served hot with seafood
Hake is used in this recipe which has a similar light flesh to cod, but is more flavourful. You could equally use any other white-fleshed fish of your choice: coley or sea bream would be great substitutes.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 160g of fregola with cuttlefish ink (use approx. 80g of pasta per person, so just scale up all quantities in this recipe if there's more of you)
- 2 x 200g pieces of hake fillet, skin scored
100g kale leaves, torn roughly, tough stalks removed (weight without stalks)
4 garlic cloves (leave in skins)
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Allioli to serve (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Put the garlic cloves and kale on a small baking sheet, drizzle with a little of the olive oil, season with salt & pepper and toss so everything is coated. Roast for about 15-20 minutes until the garlic is soft inside its skin and the kale is crispy. Take out of the oven, remove from the baking sheet and set aside.
- Switch the oven to a high grill setting. Place the hake fillets on the same baking sheet you just used for roasting. Drizzle the fish lightly with olive oil and season the skin generously with salt & pepper, ready for cooking (step 5).
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil*. Add the fregola and cook for about 8-10 minutes until al dente (may need a little longer, say, 12 minutes, but taste it around the 10 minute mark).
- Drain fregola and return to pot, coating very lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skins in the pasta and mix through well (discard garlic skins). Put a lid on and cover with a tea towel to keep pasta warm.
- Grill the fish for 5 mins or until flaky but not dry, skin crispy – you won’t need to turn it.
- Assemble: divide the pasta between two shallow bowls, top with the fish, then garnish with the kale crisps. Give it a final drizzle of olive oil if required.
I love to serve this with a dollop of allioli on top - not traditional, but definitely tasty!
*Expert's tip: when cooking fregola, experiment using fish, chicken or vegetable stock for some or all of the cooking liquid for more flavour. As with all pasta dishes, you can retain some of the cooking liquid at the draining stage to provide more 'sauce' in the finished dish.
Photo credit: Rory Lovie