Sardinia is a wild, mountainous island (the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, in fact), and it has two distinct cuisines. The traditions of the inland have in the last century, been joined by an expanded maritime food culture. Recipes combining shellfish and fregola, a local pasta resembling semolina, are common; taste this dish and you'll soon see why.
- 400 gm fregola
- 400 ml white wine
- 200 ml chicken stock
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 1 kg littleneck clams (see note)
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- 5 golden shallots, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1-2 small red chillies, finely chopped, or to taste
- 8 medium uncooked prawns, peeled, cleaned, tails intact
- 2 cleaned calamari tubes, thinly sliced into rings
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1½ lemons
- 1Cook fregola in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (14-18 minutes), strain and reserve.
- 2Meanwhile, bring wine, stock and saffron to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat, add clams, cover and shake pan occasionally until clams open (3-5 minutes; remove clams individually as they open). Set aside in a bowl.
- 3Strain cooking liquid through a fine sieve and keep warm.
- 4Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add shallot, garlic and chilli and stir occasionally until tender (4-6 minutes). Add prawns and calamari and stir until just opaque (2-4 minutes), then add fregola, reserved clams, reserved cooking liquid and remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Serve hot.
Cleaned littleneck clams, from New Zealand, are available from select fishmongers. If you're using clams that haven't been cleaned, you'll need to soak them to remove grit first. If littleneck clams are unavailable, substitute Australian clams.
This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of