Fregola Pasta w/ Cherry Tomatoes and Basil is a quick and easy one-pot recipe that works as a side dish or a light meal all on it’s own.
Believe it or not, this gorgeous dish was a clean-out-the-pantry kind of meal. We are basically out of all other veggies in the house than what you see here. I do have some frozen veggies stocked up, as always, but they weren’t really calling out to me. After some hunting around in the pantry, I found a bag of fregola pasta and one lonely box of vegetable stock. I also knew I had a few basil leaves left over from my Sun Dried Tomato Spread that weren’t going to last much longer, a half container of cherry tomatoes and one green onion. How does that even happen – ONE green onion? You would think I would have just used it up in whatever I made last with it…oh well. Magic was made with these “leftover” ingredients and, voila – Fregola Pasta w/ Cherry Tomatoes and Basil!
What is fregola pasta? It is little round pasta shapes typically made from semolina and comes from Sardinia. And it’s toasted, so it has a lovely nutty flavor. Very reminiscent of Israeli couscous.
I first tasted fregola at a cooking demonstration at Eataly in Chicago. This was the same place where I first learned of Acquerello rice inspiring my Southwest Pumpkin Risotto. The fregola was so good, we bought some before we left there. They served it in a garlicky white wine and tomato sauce. It was simple, but incredibly flavorful.
My fregola recipe is equally simple! It’s quick and easy, only 7 ingredients and cooked all in one pot, making it the perfect choice for a weeknight meal. Oh, and my version is oil free!
If you want a light and fresh meal, this Fregola Pasta will stand just fine on it’s own. But, it would also be a beautiful accompaniment to dishes like baked tofu, cauliflower steaks, or portobello mushrooms. It’s even great served cold or room temperature the next day, so you could put it out for your summer BBQ spread!
I like to drizzle the finished dish with balsamic vinegar before serving. And then I like to add even more to my own bowl. I’m a balsamic addict…I could drink the stuff!
I hope you guys enjoy this easy Fregola Pasta dish. Please come back after you make it and leave me a comment about how it turned out! Snap a gorgeous pic and tag me on Instagram or Twitter, making sure to tag #veggieinspired and @veggie_inspired to ensure I don’t miss your post!
- 4 cups vegetable broth (divided)
- 1/4 of a red onion (diced)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 cup fregola pasta (or other small shaped pasta - Israeli couscous would be a perfect sub)
- 1 cup assorted cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 green onion (diced)
- 4-5 medium basil leaves (chiffonade)
- salt/pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper)
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional)
Heat 1/2 cup of vegetable broth over medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened.
- Add the remaining 3.5 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the fregola pasta, a pinch of salt and pepper, turn down the heat and simmer for 12-13 minutes until al dente.
- Turn off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes, green onion, and basil and stir to heat through. Taste and adjust salt/pepper if needed.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving, if using.
~The sauce will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so if it seems too liquidly when you turn off the heat, don't worry, just give it a few minutes and stir again.
~Leftovers are delicious cold or room temperature. You may need to add a bit more vegetable broth to loosen it up if it becomes too thick.
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