During our vanlife adventure in Sardinia we discovered Fregola, tiny pearls of pasta made by hand which originate from the Italian island. Fregola is a very versatile ingredient and can be used in soups, stews, salads and in this recipe made into a risotto-like pasta dish.
It is one of our favourite campervan kitchen staples. So much so we brought plenty back with us! However, you can find it online (amazon), in posh supermarkets and Italian delis. Although you could substitute it for Orzo or Arborio rice, you may need to add more stock/water.
This recipe can be easily adapted to suit your tastes, camper kitchen supplies and diets - it can be made totally vegetarian and vegan.
Recipe from Meg, from Flora & the Novice Explorers
Heat a saucepan (preferably heavy based) on a high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil.
Begin to sauté the prawns, onions and garlic, adding a little colour/caramelisation. Add a pinch of chilli flakes, healthy grind of salt & pepper and slowly allow the aromas to be released.
When the prawns are cooked and have turned pink remove from the pan and set aside.
Reduce the heat and add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir into the hot pan of onions and allow the paste to cook out for a few minutes. Add the jar of passata and chicken stock and bring to the boil.
Now add the Fregola to the pan and stir every few minutes - sometimes it has a tendency to sink to the bottom, stick and burn as it swells.
On a low heat, simmer for around 15 minutes, constantly stirring. The fregola is cooked when the tiny balls of pasta are soft but still have a little chew, or a little bite - “Al dente” as they say! Check for seasoning as the pasta itself is pretty bland - as most pasta is. It takes on the flavour of a punchy sauce!
Turn off the heat and allow it to rest for a few moments, as it soaks up any remaining liquid as it finishes cooking.
Whilst you are waiting, roughly chop the sun dried tomatoes and the capers, add them to the pan along with the previously cooked prawns.
Finely chop the fresh herb of choice and stir some into the tomato fregola and save the rest to scatter on the top.
Serve up, add a wedge of fresh lemon and enjoy a little taste of Sardinia. Perhaps with a glass of wine!