Fregula con Gallinella – Fregula Pasta with Tub Gurnard

This is a recipe can be made successfully also as a risotto, but this time I wanted to try it with fregula, a typical type of pasta from Sardina island, made with durum semolina and water.

Traditionally it is a homemade pasta, but you can find also very good artisanal products like what I found. The most famous recipe is probably “fregula e arselle”, with a type of clams, but it works very well with many other fish sauces.

The fish I used is a tub gurnard, but you could use also a red scorpionfish, or other similar fish.

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INGREDIENTS (2 people):

  • 1 tub gurnard of about 450-500 g
  • 160-180 g fregula
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 15-16 cherry/date tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 0,2 g of saffron powder
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • fresh chili
  • fresh parsley
  • ice cubes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  1. 17First of all warm a cup of water and add the saffron to it, we will need this infusion after at least 30 minutes. Then we have to prepare a “fumetto di pesce”, the fish stock, remove the fillets from the fish and keep aside for the last minutes. Then cut the fins and remove the eyes from the head. Take a pot and heat some extra virgin olive oil, then add 1 clove of garlic, the peeled and chopped carrot and celery, half of the tomatoes and the head and the central bone of the fish. Let it go at medium/high heat for few minutes, stirring, and then add the white wine. Keep the heat high until reduced. Now add two handful of ice cubes (the thermal shock will preserve better the flavors, they’ll be more clean), and when they are almost melted add the cup of water with the saffron. Keep the heat on low, the stock doesn’t have to reach the boil but it just have to smoke (as the word “fumetto” suggests). Let it go for at least 45 minutes. By almost this time, season with some salt and pepper. Then filter it.
  2. 15In another pot heat some extra virgin olive oil, and add the other clove of garlic, when it gets some color remove it. Then add the other tomatoes, cut in half. Let it cook few minutes at medium/high heat, then add the fregula. Mix it for a couple of minutes, and then start adding the hot fish stock, ladle by ladle, like you would do for a risotto. Start counting the cooking time of the pasta from the time you add the fish stock. Control if you have to season with some salt.
  3. Meanwhile take the two fillet, remove carefully all the bones, then cut them in half: the part on the tail we have to cook it in a pan, with a drizzle of oil and some salt on the bottom, 2 minutes on each side, to make the skin crunchy. The other part we have to remove the skin and cut it into cubes, and we add it to the pasta when it’s missing just 4-5 minutes to the end.
  4. 16When the pasta is cooked, add some freshly chopped parsley, and serve it with the fillet you cooked in the pan placed on the top, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy 🙂

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