Dishin’ With Denise… Fregola With Green Peas, Mint & Ricotta

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Denise Gianatasio is a Northport 
Village resident and freelance writer. 
She is a licensed agent at Signature 
Premier Properties, 172 Main Street, Northport 631-754-3600 ext. 577. 
Denise enjoys cooking and sharing her recipes and family stories, as she 
wants to inspire a warm sense of home 
with her readers. Please feel free to 
contact her for any advice you may 
need at dishinwithdenise@yahoo.com.

A springtime remix of pasta e fagioli a brothy delicious pasta and fresh green peas to welcome the new season. The farm stands are not yet open with fresh peas~so frozen will do just fine for this seasonal favorite. Fregola pasta could be called a close relative of couscous (cousins I suppose). Its origin~Sardinia Italy, where these spherical pellets are made by rubbing semolina wheat with water and then lightly toasting. The flavor has a wonderful nutty taste that couscous lacks…sorry cous! It is a rougher and grainier pasta and has recently become quite popular with chefs and diners. This pasta is easy and cooks quickly in about 6-8 minutes (aldente) it usually soaks up all the water because the semolina is very absorbent. You can add this to a variety of meals~soups, salads, risottos, tacos or it can stand alone as an attractive main dish or as a side. If you like pasta then you’ll love fregola!  Enjoy this pasta pearl!

                                                        
1 ½ cups fregola
2T olive oil (extra for drizzling)
4-5 slices of bacon chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 leek chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 ½ cups frozen or fresh peas if available
2 T chopped fresh mint plus
whole leaves for garnish
4 ounces of ricotta 

Cook fregola in a pot of salted boiling water for 6-8 minutes. Fluff up with a fork. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until brown. Add onion, leeks, and stir occasionally until onions are soft. Add wine, bring to a simmer and cook until almost dry~ about 5 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer. Add the fregola until broth thickens a bit. Taste and season. Add peas and chopped mint and toss until peas are warmed through~ about 2 minutes. Add more broth if it becomes too thick. Serve topped with dollops of fresh ricotta, mint, cracked pepper and a drizzle of oil. Of course some crusty bread and a glass of vino will do. Xo Denise