Fregolone Sardo with pickled fennel and red wine vinaigrette


  • Serves 6 people

  • 1 each onion, carrot and celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 250 gm fregolone Sardo (see note)
  • 220 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar
  • 200 gm cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely torn
  • 2 tbsp marjoram
  • Finely grated bottarga di tonno, to serve (see note)
  • Pickled fennel
  • 250 ml (1 cup) each white wine vinegar and chardonnay vinegar
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 baby fennel bulbs, thickly sliced
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, bruised
01   For pickled fennel, bring vinegar, bay leaf and 500ml water to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat, add fennel and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside to cool in liquid. When cool, drain (discard liquid), combine with oil and garlic and set aside to marinate (3 hours or overnight). Drain before using.
02   Place onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and 2 litres water in a large saucepan over medium heat, bring to the simmer, add fregolone Sardo and simmer until tender (8-10 minutes). Drain well, spread on a tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and set aside to cool.
03   Whisk red wine vinegar and remaining oil in a small bowl, season to taste and set aside.
04   Combine fregolone Sardo, tomato and pickled fennel in a bowl, season to taste, drizzle with red wine vinaigrette and toss to combine. Serve scattered with parsley, marjoram and bottarga di tonno.
Note Fregolone Sardo is a small toasted Sardinian pasta available from select delicatessens and Italian grocers. If it’s unavailable, substitute fregola or Israeli couscous. Bottarga di tonno is a cured, pressed Sardinian fish roe available from select delicatessens and fishmongers.

This recipe is from the March 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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