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A simple recipe for Fregola with Corn, Zucchini and Basil, sprinkled with pecorino. A fast and easy Italian-inspired meal that comes together in 30 minutes.

Fregola with Corn, Zucchini and Basil, sprinkled with pecorino. A fast and easy Italian-inspired meal that comes together in 30 minutes.

What is Fregola?

Fregola or Fregola Sarda is a pearl-shaped pasta, similar to Israeli Couscous, that hails from Sardina, Italy. It is made by hand, by rubbing semolina flour and water together, into tiny pearls, which are then toasted- yielding a beautiful nutty, earthy flavor. The imperfections here make them beautiful.

In this recipe for Fregola pasta, summer corn and zucchini are paired with basil, pecorino and lemon zest- a cozy, end-of-summer meal.

Fregola Sarda in a bag

Notice the variations in color here- levels of toastiness, giving the Fregola nuance and complexity.

Fregola - toasted handmande pearls

What you’ll need to make Fregola Pasta

  • Fregola Sarda pasta- yes, you could sub Israeli Couscous, but I  would suggest toasting it first in an oven or dry skillet.
  • Shallot
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Fresh Corn- or sub frozen corn or roasted corn
  • Zucchini
  • Fresh Basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, chili flakes

Ingredients in Fregola Sarda with Corn, zucchini, basil and pecorino

How to make Fregola with Corn and Zucchini

Chopped corn, shallot, garlic and corn on a cutting board.

Step 1:

Set the salted pasta water to boil and prep your veggies. If feeling ambitious char the corn first over a gas burner on the stove ( or on the grill) or feel free to skip this step.

corn charring on a gas burner

Step 2:

Saute the shallot, zucchini and garlic in olive oil and season with salt, pepper and chili flakes.  Saute until the zucchini releases its liquid and becomes tender.

zucchini sautéing in a pan

Step 3:

Add the corn and continue sauteeing until the corn is cooked through, yet still snappy.

Adding the corn to the skillet

Step 4:

Drain the pasta, save a cup of pasta water and add the pasta to the skillet. Give a stir.

fregola being added to the pan with the zucchini and corn

Step 5:

Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

adding olive oil

Step 6:

Stir in the pecorino and fresh basil leaves.

adding pecorino and basil leaves to the pasta

Step 7:

Add a little hot pasta water to create a little creaminess. You can make this quite loose if you like or keep it drier.

adding pasta water to the pan

Step 8:

Lastly, add the lemon zest of a whole lemon. Taste and adjust salt, and chili flakes to your liking.

add lemon zest

Garnish with more pecorino and fresh basil and you are good to go!  I like to prepare this like “couscous” consistency, a little drier, but if you crave creaminess, adding more pasta water and more pecorino will achieve this. Or, if still not satisfied, add a few tablespoons of ricotta for extra richness.

Fregola Sarda with Corn, Zucchini and Basil, sprinkled with pecorino. A fast and easy Italian-inspired meal that comes together in 30 minutes.

Tips on How to cook Fregola:

  • Generously season the pasta water with salt -1 tablespoon salt per 8 cups of water.
  • Cook the Fregola 8-10 minutes or until the Fregola is tender on the outside, but still, al dente, meaning it still has a little bite to it. (If you overcook it, it will turn to mush, so better to undercook, and then you can continue cooking it in the pan with the zucchini if need be.)
  • Remember to save a cup of hot pasta water.

Fregola recipe with Corn, Zucchini and Basil, sprinkled with pecorino. A fast and easy Italian-inspired meal that comes together in 30 minutes.

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Fregola with Corn, Zucchini and Basil, sprinkled with pecorino. A fast and easy Italian-inspired meal that comes together in 30 minutes.

Fregola with Corn, Zucchini & Basil


  • Author:
    Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home

  • Prep Time:
    20

  • Cook Time:
    20

  • Total Time:
    40 minutes

  • Yield:
    3-4

  • Category:
    pasta, vegetarian

  • Method:
    stovetop

  • Cuisine:
    Italian

  • Diet:
    Vegetarian


Description

Fregola Sarda Pasta with Corn, Zucchini and Basil, sprinkled with pecorino. A fast and easy Italian-inspired meal that comes together in 30 minutes.


  • 8 ounces Fregola pasta ( 1 1/2 cups dry)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 2 medium zucchini ( 34 cups diced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • pinch chili flakes (or Aleppo chili flakes)
  • 1 ear corn (2 cups, or use frozen, or frozen roasted ) see notes
  • 1/3 cup pecorino cheese
  • 1520 basil leaves
  • zest of one lemon
  • Optional: 1/4 cup ricotta for extra creaminess


Instructions

Cook fregola pasta in 8 cups water with 1 tablespoon salt according to directions on the package, cook until al dente and save a cup of hot pasta water.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and zucchini and season with salt, and saute until the zucchini is translucent about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper and chili flakes and cook a few more minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the corn, and continue sauteeing, until the corn is tender, but still a little snappy, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the cooked fregola pasta to the zucchini-corn mixture, drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil, stir in the pecorino, basil and lemon zest. Add 1/4-1/2  cup pasta water to loosen, and more if you prefer it more “saucy”.

Taste, season with more salt, or chili flakes if you like. If it tastes bland, it needs salt.

Garnish with fresh basil and a sprinkling of pecorino.

For extra richness, stir in a little ricotta. See notes.


Notes

The pecorino makes this dish.

Feel free to char the corn (on a gas stove or grill) before cutting the kernels off.

This is a drier-style pasta dish just lightly coated in olive oil (kind of like couscous). For extra creaminess or  a more saucy consistency, add more pasta water and stir in the ricotta.

Keywords: Fregola, Fregola Sarda, Fregola recipe, Fregola recipes, Fregola with corn, zucchini and basil,



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