Marketing in Sardinia

Sardinia KitchenFor years I’ve been dreaming of a cooking vacation in Italy, so I was ecstatic when my dear friend Becca suggested renting a rustic Italian  “stazzu” in Sardinia.

We spent our afternoons ambling through local markets, tasting fresh local olives (at 13 Euro a pound), prosciutto, parmesan and the island specialty – cinghiale (wild boar). Cinghiale is gamey and quite nice if you like that sort of thing, which all did.

Each night we feasted in the slow southern Italian style with a magnificent meal. Men prepared meat and Beccs and I prepared cheese (her), pasta (me), fish and veggies (both of us).

Below is my interpretation of the traditional Sardinian Seafood Pasta dish. Imagine an Italian flavored paella with fregula, the local pasta which is a cross between risotto and a nutty cous cous. Pasta usually doesn’t satisfy me, but I found the earthiness of fregula exquisite.

Serves: 4

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 lb Sea Bass fillet
  • 1.5 cups marinara sauce (try my recipe from scratch)
  • 2 cups fregula (on Amazon)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • ¼ clove of garlic
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • ¼ cup Red Wine
  • ¼ cup White wine or stock (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Mince the garlic and chop the onion into small ¼ inch squares. Place a risotto pan or sautee pan with deep sides onto medium high heat and add two swirls of olive oil and then the garlic and onions. Cook until brown (about 3 to 4 minutes).
  2. Add the sea bass, skin side down and cook until it turns white (about 8 to 10 minutes).
  3. Add 2 cups of fregula with the red wine, 2 cups of water, sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir periodically and add more water if it all boils off.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the mussels.
    • If they have not already been cleaned, scrub them and debeard them by pulling the hair sticking out of the shell sharply down toward the hinge or point. Remove any opened mussels.
    • In a deep pot, add ¼ cup of white wine or stock and dump in the mussels. Steam on medium high heat, covered by a lid for 12 minutes or until all mussels are open.
  5. Returning to the pasta, add the 1.5 cups of marinara sauce, the bunch of rosemary and cook for another 10 minutes before adding the mussles for flavor. If you prefer your pasta a bit al dente or crunchy, it will probably need another 5 minutes or so. If you prefer it soft, add another 2 to 3 minutes

Serve and enjoy!

Sardinian Fregula with Sea Bass & Mussels