Culinary Arts

What Is Fregola? Learn How to Cook With Fregola

Written by MasterClass

May 29, 2019 • 2 min read

Sometimes called Sardinian couscous, fregola lands somewhere between a grain and a pasta, with a nutty flavor and irregular texture that’s all its own. Use it where you would couscous or orzo, adding a toasted dimension to hot and cold side dishes.

What Is Fregola?

Similar to Israeli couscous, with the crucial distinction that it’s made by hand—not a machine—fregola, aka fregula or fregola sarda, is a tiny spherical pasta from the Italian island of Sardinia. It’s made with semolina (the coarse part of the grain leftover from milling durum wheat) and water, and pre-toasted for nuttiness. Small and chewy like a grain, fregola makes a great base for pasta salads and sauced dishes alike.


How to Cook Fregola

In a large pot, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup fregola and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. If using in a salad, drain and spread on a baking sheet to cool. For warm preparations, return to the pot after draining and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Alternatively, use chicken or vegetable stock for some or all of the cooking liquid for more flavor.

10 Fregola Recipe Ideas

  1. Fregola risotto with saffron and homemade chicken broth
  2. Fregola herb salad with red onion and fresh parsley, cilantro, and mint
  3. Fregola pilaf with artichokes and lemon juice
  4. Minestrone with homemade vegetable stock and fregola
  5. Warm fregola with basil pesto
  6. Fregola, tomato, and seafood stew with fresh oregano
  7. Fregola with peas, mint, and goat cheese
  8. Fregola with clams, white wine, and tomato sauce
  9. Baked fregola casserole with cherry tomatoes and Parmesan cheese
  10. Fregola salad with zucchini, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, and pine nuts

Easy Fregola Pasta Sarda Recipe

Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 large unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Small handful fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup fregola
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes and garlic with enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt, pepper, about half of the lemon juice (reserve the zest), and oregano leaves. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tomatoes are starting to brown and the garlic is soft inside its skin, about 15–20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the chicken stock and 2 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add fregola and cook until al dente, about 8–10 minutes. Drain and return to pot, coating very lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Squeeze roasted garlic out of its skins and transfer garlic and tomatoes to pot with fregola. Sprinkle with lemon zest and season to taste with more salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil. Serve warm.