Fregola with Charred Peppers and Pine Nuts
In this flexible recipe you can use pretty much any vegetable or grain you want, as long as there are loads of herbs and plenty of bright lemon. For the fresh herbs, a combination of mostly parsley and chives with a little tarragon is an excellent choice. Nutty Sardinian fregola—a small toasted pasta—is delicious, but almost any grain will work.
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) vegetable stock
- 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) fregola sarda or Israeli couscous
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
- Handful of shishito peppers, stemmed and coarsely chopped, or 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
- 1 cup (6 oz./185 g) cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz./40 g) toasted pine nuts
- 1 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) coarsely chopped leafy herbs
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
In a saucepan over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Stir in the fregola and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bell and shishito peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are a bit charred and softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are slightly charred and some of them begin to split, 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the chard and cook until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the fregola and stir in the pine nuts, herbs and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4.
Adapted from The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries, by Ben Towill, Phil Winser, Nicole Franzen, Nick Wilber and Julia Turshen (Rizzoli, 2014)