The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

10:41 PM

What's on the side? Fregola with Portabella Ragù

Posted by Magic of Spice

Fregola with Mint and Thyme 
Portabella Ragù

Fregola [Freg-o-la] is a pasta that graces many dishes in the land of
 Sardegna Italy. Sardegna is an island in the Medetaranian Sea and fregola is said to
primarily be prominent in the Southern region of the island.  It is a semolina dough
 pasta that are small and round in shape. It can be prepared in a variety of ways
and served either cold or hot. Many dishes prepare fregola like a couscous,
 however the texture and flavor are quit different. The texture is course with a
nutty and robust flavor.  

I had a couple of portabellas on hand as well, and some gorgeous
fresh strawberry tomatoes. And since I live in Southern California, many of
my herbs are still flourishing...Sorry to everyone stuck in the cold, dry herbs
will work as well :)

Ragù is a sauce for those of you not familiar, is generally a sauce served with meat...
more specifically ground meat. The basics of the sauce are still present here,
a thick almost stew like sauce that has been slowly simmered to allow a marriage of
flavors. You may have seen Bolognese Style, meaning Ragù that is being served
over a bead of pasta. I have also played around a bit here by adding some fresh
organic arugula in place of spinach.

What you will need:

For the ragù
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 shallots, finely chopped
6 ounces portabella mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
*2/3 cup tomato purée
1 teaspoon himalayon pink salt, finely ground
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, finely ground
A pinch or two of cinnamon, ground
6 strawberry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
(or 3 roma tomatoes)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
(or 1 teaspoon dry)
4-6 fresh mint leaves, torn
1 - 11/2 cups arugula
Shaved Toscano pepper cheese, grated
(or other hard a cheese
Large sauté pan with lid

For the fregola pasta
1 cup fregola
2 cups vegetable broth
Small sauce pan

* If using a canned or jarred tomato purée check salt content prior to salting your sauce.
Note: These recipes can be doubled if serving as a main dish versus a side dish

Let's get cooking:

For the ragù
Heat a medium sized sauté pan on medium heat, add truffle oil until hot.
Add shallots and sauté until just begining to become translucent, add garlic
and continue to sauté  for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and
coat in your oil mixture. Cover and allow mushrooms to sweat and their juices begin
to start flowing, about 3-5 minutes depending on thickness. Remove lid and add the
wine, continue to sauté uncovered until most of your liquid has reduced. Reduce
 heat to low, add stock, tomato purée, salt,pepper, tomatoes, thyme and mint.
Allow your sauce to simmer on low, stirring occasionally for about 40 minutes of so.
  Note: you should have a nice thick sauce, but if sauce thickens too quickly add a
small amount of additional stock. Just before serving add arugula, until just wilted.

For the fregola pasta
Bring vegetable stock to a boil then add fregola, reduce heat and simmer
10-15 minuted or until liquid is absorbed, or per package instructions.

Get this look:
If planning to serve this dish as a side or starter dish, you can achieve this presentation
by placing a tablespoon of so of tomato purée that has been lightly seasoned with a
bit of pepper. Now taking a small ramekin or 1 cup size measuring cup,lightly oiling
the inside. Fill with your prepared fregola and press down with a medium firmness to
pack the fregola pasta. Turn ramekin over and tap lightly on the bottom to release
the fregola maintaining a circular appearance. Remove portabella slices from the
ragù sauce and place on top of each cylinder. Top with your remaining ragù sauce
 and garnish with grated cheese if desired :)

Alisha~Magic of Spice

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