|*taptap* Is this thing on? It's been a bit - I've been travelling and working too much of late. (Hey, at least there was some travelling in there....) But tonight, back to creating something tasty and new for the Leckman-Borogove Sunday supper!
I found a package of fregole at Lucca a few weeks ago - it looks like my beloved Israeli couscous, but toasted up nice and dark. This stuff is Sardinian - and it looks like the traditional dish made with it is fully of clammy goodness. I spotted an article in my local that mentioned that the good folks over at Incanto cook it like risotto with crab; that sounded good to me. Nothing being that easy for a Leckman-Borogove supper, I put together two different fregole dishes for our dinner tonight - a crab, thyme & shallot fregole, and one with tomatoes, chantarelles, white beans, and sage. (Warning: do not try and feed to the littlest Leckman.)
Fregole with Crab: method
--Clean a crab. Make a simple stock with the shells, and reserve the meat.
--Mince 3-4 shallots. Pluck a few branches of thyme.
--Sauté the shallots in a little butter over medium heat until they just start to color. Toss in the thyme; let cook for a few moments until the leaves turn bright bright green.
--Add in a cup of fregole. Stir to coat with tasty butter and shallot. Add stock to just cover up. Bring to a simmer.
--Simmer for 20-25 minutes, adding stock as necessary to keep the fregole submerged. Taste reasonably often, starting around minute 15. Stop cooking when they are just past al dente, but still a bit springy when you chomp.
--Stir in some crab butter that has been hanging around your freezer. And the reserved crab meat.
--Squeeze a small lemon (or half a big one) into the pasta. (Do this a bit at a time, until you like the lemon level.) Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a green salad and a little coarse sea salt sprinkled over the top. Serves 2, with a bit leftover for lunch.
Fregole with Beans, Tomato, Mushrooms & Sage: method
I worked from Judy Rogers' method for cooking dried beans and then her method for Fagioli all'Uccelletto, from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. She's smart, that Judy. (I just realized I made Fregole e Fagioli. Oh dear.)
For the tasty beans:
--Cook your white beans according to your favorite method. If you don't have one, go get the Zuni Cookbook now!
--Chop an onion & sauté it over medium in some olive oil. Let it carmelize a bit.
--Throw in a few handfuls of chopped chantarelles and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. And a little salt, just because you want to taste the mushrooms in a minute. Let them cook. (Now is a good time to drop down and start cooking your fregole.)
--Add a tablespooon of chopped fresh sage. Stir it in. Taste the mushrooms again. (And maybe one more time, for good measure. And let Beca taste them, too.)
---Add around a half a cup of chopped tomatoes and a splash of veg stock. Bring back to a simmer. Add the beans and some of their cooking liquid. Taste again - you'll probably need more salt. Let simmer, gently, for 15 minutes or so. (Or until the fregole is done. We're pragmatic around here.)
For the fregole
--Sauté another chopped onion in some olive oi. Add fregole, and a nice dark veg stock, and cook as above in the crab recipe.
--When the fregole is done, stir in most of the beans and their sauce, gently. Try not to break up the beans.
--Spoon into a plate, and top with a few more of the beans and a little extra sauce.
--If you have a meat-eater around, cook off a nice lamb sausage. (We had one from Golden Gate Meat Markets; lamb sausage cured in red wine.) Slice it and arrange it on the plate atop the fregole.
--Serves 3, with some leftover for lunch.