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Mario's Fregola With Clams - {Fregola Con Vongole Di Mario}

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tiny fresh clams rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced Italian parsley
  • 1 cup fregola - (8 oz)
  • 1 pound whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 3 1/2 cups hot chicken or beef broth (homemade or canned)
  • 2 whole dried tomatoes in olive oil cut into pieces
  • Fine sea salt to taste
  • Coarsely-ground black pepper to taste

Details

Servings 4

Preparation

Step 1

Place the clams and the water in a medium-size saute pan. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the shells open. Remove the clams with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside until cool enough to handle. Discard any that do not open. Strain the cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a bowl, measure out 1/2 cup, and set aside. Shuck all but five of the clams, chop them coarsely, and set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is deep golden brown (this will give added flavor to the fregola). Add the fregola to the pan and stir to coat the grains well with the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and chop them coarsely with a wooden spoon as you stir.

Gradually stir in 3 cups of the broth and the reserved clam juice, allowing the fregola to absorb the liquid as it cooks. The fregola should plump up to double their size and be firm to the bite but cooked through. Add additional broth only if the fregola are still too firm. The fregola should take 20 to 25 minutes to cook.

Two or three minutes before the fregola is ready, add the dried tomatoes and the clams. Stir to blend the ingredients well. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the fregola to a serving bowl or deep platter. Garnish with the reserved clams and sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top. Serve immediately.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 first-course servings.

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