Fregola with Broccoli and Cipollini Onions

Any type of pasta that reminds me of demerara sugar can't be all bad. At least that's what I thought when I first saw fregola on the shelf of my local Italian supermarket. Tiny toasted golden-brown balls of pasta that my kiddies would likely gobble up. More meaty and nutty than Israeli couscous but lighter and less stodgy than our usual pasta choices. I quickly found a recipe by Giada that combined cannellini beans and cipollini onions with the fregola so I went in search of these beautiful onions. Unfortunately, none could be found, although Carole's eagle eyes did spy some adorable teeny ones among the rainbow produce at the greengrocers' stores on the Danforth as we did our long walk this week. They ended up being a perfect substitute but I'm not giving up on the cipollini ones for another time.

After shedding a few tears as I carefully peeled them all, they happily bubbled, rolled and tumbled in the olive oil, browning themselves to a gorgeous sweet mid-summer tan. Tiny shiny caramel candies in my saucepan. So sweet and delicious, in fact, that Austin and I fought over the ones that Maddie had carefully moved to the side of her plate (she didn't know what she was missing and we weren't going to tell her). By the time Q ate his dinner later that night, he had no idea that the onions had ever existed since they were long gone by that point. The cannellini beans were a creamy and meaty addition and my only regret with this dish was not including more onions and broccoli than the recipe called for. It's a rare day that all of us unanimously love a dish and ever rarer that we're all claiming it for our lunch the next day but that's what unfolded with this salad. Gotta love it when life's that easy for Mom the following morning. Thanks, Giada.

serves 6

1 pound fregola or orzo pasta or Israeli couscous

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups cipollini onions, peeled and halved, or another small onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound broccoli, cut into small florets

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup grated parmesan


2 lemons, zested and juiced

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp honey

3 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup chopped fresh chives or green onions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still frim to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and season with salt and peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the broccoli and saute for 1 minute. Add the water and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cover the pan and cook until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and cook for 1 minute until warmed through. Transfer the onion mixture to the serving bowl. Add the parmesan and toss with the fregola.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, honey, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Whisk until smooth and then stir in the chives.

Pour the dressing over the fregola and toss well until coated. Season with more salt and pepper and serve.

Rest of the week

May 24 Salmon steaks with corn on the cob

May 25 Pork tenderloin with fregola salad



  1. I am going to buy some fregola today!

  2. Ohmigoodness, that sounds good! I don't think I've ever had fregola before...I must investigate!


Post a Comment