Fregola Salad with Zucchini and Basil

This dish is a cross between pasta and grain, with fregola, a sort of couscous from Sardinia as the foundation. With a nutty flavor and hearty texture, fregola is a must for any pantry especially since it comes to us from one of the Blue Zones of the world, where people live their best and longest lives. I’m guessing they know something about food. And considering it contains a fiber that helps balance blood sugar, I am thinking this is a wise choice.

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredient List: 

4 cups spring or filtered water

1 cup fregola

Sea salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, smashed, minced

½ red onion, diced

Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 medium zucchini, diced

1/3 cup pine nuts

2-3 stalks fresh basil, leaves removed, shredded

Balsamic vinegar

Step By Step Instructions: 

Bring water to the boil and stir in fregola and a pinch of salt. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the fregola is al dente. Drain and spread on a baking sheet to cool.

Place oil, garlic and onion in a skillet over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt, crushed red pepper flakes and sauté until the onions are translucent, 1-2 minutes. Stir in zucchini and pine nuts, a light seasoning of salt and cook, stirring until the zucchini is tender and the pine nuts are lightly browned. Take care here not to burn the pine nuts.

Stir the zucchini mixture into the fregola with fresh basil and a drizzle of good, syrupy balsamic vinegar to your taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.