Fregola Sarda with Zucchini and Pinenuts Recipe

Fregola Sarda with Zucchini and Pinenuts

On a night of ravenous hunger, decide that what you want is something warm soft and tasty with a little crunch, to be eaten in a bowl with a spoon, curled up on the couch and reading a magazine.

No need to forage through your kitchen cabinets, you know precisely what will hit the spot.

Wash and slice three zucchini thinly with your magnificent mandoline. Sauté in a bit of olive oil, with lots of herbs and just enough salt to bring out the zucchini flavor.

Heat up a small skillet and dry-toast two handfuls of pinenuts which you purchased in bulk at G.Detou — thinking then “how am I ever going to use this up”, thinking now “uh-oh, need to get some more”. Send some warm thoughts in the general direction of your sister, whose eyes light up and sparkle at the mere mention of the words pignons de pin.

Bring water to a boil, and dump in some Fregola Sarda, those small dot-shaped pasta grains that your friends brought you back from Rome, and which turn out to be the tastiest little pillows of pasta goodness ever, plump and soft between your teeth. Cook them for a random amount of time since the package does not say; wait until the pasta gets just to the point of tenderness or until you decide that you simply must. eat. now.

Drain the pasta and toss with the zucchini slices and pinenuts. Grate liberal amounts of parmesan on top, making sure your eagerness doesn’t cause you to scrape the tips of your fingers on your extra sharp cheese grater. Toss again, ladle a generous helping into a pretty bowl, do that curling-up-in-the-small-of-the-couch thing you do so well, balance your magazine on your knees, and dig in joyfully with little murmurs of delight.

And when you’re done, smile a contented smile and cherish the thought that you have another serving for lunch the next day

Ingredients :

– 3 small and slender zucchini
– 170 grams (6 ounces) fregola sarda (or another kind of very small pasta)
– 2 handfuls of pinenuts
– 60 grams (2 ounces) parmesan
– olive oil
– salt, herbes de provence

(Serves 2.)

  • estelle

    une des multiples utilisations du pignon de pin… le croissant aux amandes (la version provençale, pas les infâmes magmas qui servent à recycler les vieux croissants de l’avant-veille) ou comment passer pour un pâtissier chevroné: dans une pate composée de sucre, d’amandes en poudre et de blanc d’oeuf, on façonne de petits croissants à la surface desquels on plaque des pignons de pins; on cuit au four jusqu’à ce que les pignons soient dorés… résultat garanti!

  • I just got back from Paris and my hotel was very close to G. Detou…only it was closed when I passed it. :(

  • Thanks for this recipe, Clotilde! I am sur this would be wonderful with orzo pasta, too.

  • Rainey

    I think those of us who don’t have access to the fregola sarda could adapt this to a risotto with more available arborio.

    It sounds like a delicious combination!

  • simka

    Wonderful! Thanks for this recipe! I may now spend my day trying to collect the ingredients!

  • Oooooooooooooh….it sounds just perfect for these autumn evenings. I think I’ll have to try it with arborio rice too, don’t like my chances in Amsterdam of finding fregola sarda! Thanks heaps for the recipe, pine nuts are so delicious!

  • My sister not only glows at the mention of pine nuts, she is a pine nuts pusher. She thinks everything will be just a bit tastier with that sweet and buttery flavor and texture. As she is needing some comfort right now, this is the perfect dish to make for her. Thank you!

  • Dear Clothilde,

    You are right! That warm bowl is just the thing to cozy up with, here in chilly Michigan, on the shore of Lake Huron. Your blog has been such an inspiration to me that I have begun my own, specializing in 18thC French Cuisine. Your comments would be appreciated.

    Getting ready to clutch my bowl and head for the couch,

  • catherine

    hi, clotilde
    I thought those days when I studied to pass bacarrauleat.
    In those days, I had often a night snack.
    At saturday night, when we see video, it’s the same.
    I’ll try to make this menu – fregola sarda with zucchini and peanuts.
    With an yummy and happy imagination

  • Alisa

    I really love reading your writing. And the tip of pine nuts in bulk, at G. Detou is great. We go into a small panic when our pine nut supply begins to be just a bit too low!

  • I made this recipe for my dinner last night with orzo pasta: easy, quick, and delicious! It is a keeper, I will certainly do it again.

  • Estelle #1 – Merci pour l’idée de recette!

    Estelle #2 – I’m delighted you liked the recipe, orzo is indeed a good substitution!

    Rainey and Faith – Let me know if you try it with rice, I’m sure it will work well too…

    Candy – “Pinenut-pusher”, I like that! Don’t you think our sisters should meet and have a little pinenut party? :)

  • I tried the zucchini and pinenuts with arborio rice this evening. I was actually a little disapointed with the combination and while I was eating it could almost actually taste what it would be like with a nice soft pasta! With the arborio there just seemed to be a bit of a ‘hole’ in the flavour and/or texture of the dish as a whole, so I will try it again with a small soft pasta and compare! On the plus side, my husband, who is not crazy about zucchini, loved it and thought it was delicious!! I thought he’d faint when he found out i was proposing a dish consisting mainly of zucchini but he thought it was great!

  • Josie

    It has been a long time since I visited – so many things keep me busy. But the regular dose of Chocolate & Zucchini always makes me happy! This looks delicious as usual, Clotilde.

  • What a coincidence, I have 2 packets of pine nuts in my pantry and was wondering what to do with them. Some will go towards my herb-crusted rack of lamb and i’ll definitely try this recipe too! Thanks!

  • nbmandel

    perhaps large Israeli-style couscous would work for those who can’t find fregola sarda?

  • Faith – Thanks for reporting back about the risotto semi-disappointment, it’s good to know that it’s worth keeping the recipe for small pasta!

    Nbmandel – Absolutely, I think it would work perfectly with Israeli couscous! I’ve never seen it in stores here, but I do think it’s a good equivalent to fregola sarda…

  • Rachel

    Hi Clotilde,

    I know this is two years late, but I’ve only just discovered (and become addicted to) Chocolate & Zucchini… anyway, I just tried the recipe and wanted to say it was brilliant! However, I’m one of those cooks who is genetically incapable of following a recipe without taking any liberties with it, so these were my two changes –

    1. I couldn’t find fregola (who would have thought it was so hard in London??) so I used puntalette (little pasta that looks like rice) and it worked fine. Though I’m still on the lookout for fregola…

    2. I decided to rescue the half onion sitting forlornly on its saucer in the fridge, diced it finely, threw it into the pan with the oil and sauteed it for about 3 minutes before adding the zucchini. The moisture from the zucchini kept the onion from burning and by the time the zucchini was cooked the onion was nicely caramelised.

    Keep up the fantastic work!

    p.s. I used to live a stone’s throw from you two years ago (whilst being sadly ignorant of C&Z’s existence), how strange is that?

  • Hello! I found this “ancient” page since I had a pack of fregola in my pantry for ages, and searched the web for any idea to cook them without clams.
    I really loved it!
    I added a small diced green onion (scalogno)in the pan with the oil.
    Vale in Italy

  • Rochelle

    So I know that I am way too late to be discovering such an amazing find as this site, but I can’t wait to go home and try this! I have a bag of Israeli couscous (just bigger balls of pasta than normal couscous) that I’ve had forever, just waiting for a recipe like this!

  • Bella

    I made this tonight, six or so years after you posted, using Fregola Sarda and a Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese, similar to a Pecorino Sardo, and it came out beautifully…only thing I added to the zucchini saute was some shallot, softened with olive oil, and the final product was delightful… a run-on sentence of flavors and textures…similar to my run-on post of words…

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