Fregola is a Sardinian pasta that resembles large couscous. A ragù always tastes better one day after preparation, so leave it to rest in the fridge for 24 hours if possible.
- 800 g suckling pig (from 2 different parts, such as belly/shoulder, rib/shoulder – either ask your butcher to cut into large pieces retaining on the bone or do yourself at home)
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- salt and pepper
- 2 glasses white wine (such as vermentino)
- 600 g tinned peeled whole tomatoes
- 2 brown onions
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 2 garlic cloves
- extra virgin olive oil
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- ½ brown onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 pinch of saffron threads
- 360 g toasted fregola
- ½ glass white wine (such as vermentino)
- 500 ml (2 cups) hot vegetable stock
- 80 g butter
- 100 g pecorino, grated
- 1 rosemary sprig, leaves finely chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 1 day
To make the ragù, the night before, cut the suckling pig into large pieces, retaining the skin and meat on the bone where possible. Marinate the meat in half of the white wine, bay leaves, rosemary, pepper in the refrigerator.
The next day, chop the tinned tomato and leave to the side for later. Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic.
Heat a large casserole dish over medium heat, then add the olive oil and chopped vegetables. Stir until golden, then turn off the heat – keep stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the base of the pan.
Heat a separate large saucepan over medium heat. Sear the marinated suckling pig pieces, skin side down, then turn over and sear the other sides until lightly golden. Once done, remove the meat from pan and place on wire rack to drain for 5 minutes.
Place the casserole dish with the vegetables back over high heat and add the meat. Add the remaining white wine and stir until the wine evaporates. Add the chopped tomato and stir. Continue to cook until boiling, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook with no lid for 2 hours, stirring every 20–30 minutes.
When the meat naturally starts to fall away from the bone, remove from the heat and remove the meat from the sauce. Allow the meat to cool enough to shred the meat from bone by hand.
If needed, reduce the tomato sauce until your desired sauce consistency and add the shredded meat back into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper (salt is added at the end to prevent the sauce splattering). If possible, refrigerate overnight before serving. When ready to serve with the fregola, warm gently in a saucepan first.
To make the fregola, heat large a frying pan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and whole garlic clove and cook, stirring, until lightly golden. Stir in the saffron. Add the fregola and cook, stirring, until lightly golden.
Add the wine and stir until the wine evaporates. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 7 minutes, stirring every 1 minute to ensure the fregola does not stick to the pan. Remove the garlic clove. Add the warm ragù to the pan and stir to combine. Cook for 4 minutes or until the fregola is al dente.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and half of the grated pecorino and stir until everything is coated.
To serve, spoon the fregola mixture into a large shallow dish or serve individually. Sprinkle over the remaining pecorino and the finely chopped rosemary.
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20°C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55–60 g, unless specified.
Recipe courtesy Popolo