Fregola Sarda con Cozze e Vongole

Fregola with Mussels and Clams


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

Rough, grainy-textured fregola pasta is a little like couscous and is becoming a popular choice in restaurants. It consists of fine beads of durum-wheat pasta. Fregola is made by combining durum-wheat flour and water - sometimes with the addition of saffron. It is then rolled, and the little balls of pasta are lightly toasted, which gives it a wonderful, nutty flavour. In this dish it is served with mussels and clams in a rich tomato sauce.


  • 1 kg/2 ¼ lb mussels
  • 1 kg/2 ¼ lb clams
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ dried red chilli, chopped
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg/2 ¼ lb canned chopped tomatoes
  • 250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 kg/2 ¼ lb fregola
  • sea salt


  1. Keeping the clams and mussels in separate bowls, scrub them thoroughly in several changes of fresh water until the water is completely clear. Scrape off any barnacles and pull off the ‘beards’ from the mussels. Drain. Discard any clams or mussels that do not close tightly when tapped against a work surface.

  2. In a large pan over a low heat, fry the garlic, chilli and half the parsley in the oil for 3 minutes. Add the mussels and cover the pan.

  3. Cook for 8 minutes, or until the mussels open. Remove the pan from the heat. Discard any mussels that remain closed. Remove the mussels from their shells, and strain and reserve both the shelled mussels and the cooking liquid.
  4. Return the mussel liquid to the pan. Add the canned tomatoes, stir and lower the heat to simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the wine and season with salt. Cook for a further 5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced slightly.
  5. Put the clams into a wide pan. Cover and cook them over a medium heat until they open. Discard any that remain closed.

  6. Strain the cooking liquid and add it to the pan with the mussel juices and tomatoes. Shell most of the clams, leaving a few in their shells, and add them to the pan together with the reserved shelled mussels. Cook for a further 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick and glossy. Remove from the heat.
  7. In another pan, boil the fregola in salted water for 8 minutes, or according to the pack instructions, then drain and add to the sauce with the remaining parsley. Stir well, then cover with a lid and leave to rest for 3 minutes before serving.