Clam and Fregola Soup with Fennel and Tomatoes

Just a quick post this morning. I meant to get this up last night but I have been battling a cold and after making dinner and tidying up it was time to put on the tea kettle and supervise a bit of homework before an early bedtime.

Ironically, last week I was lamenting to a friend how I was missing fall soup season here in sunny Miami. Not two days later I was slammed with the the double whammy of a nasty cold and bronchitis. Suddenly, regardless of the temperature outside, it felt like the perfect time for a comforting pot of soup.  I had a bag of fregola sarda that I picked up at the Epicure last week, some chicken broth and lots of garlic, some dried chiles and a bulb of fennel. I could envision a brothy, garlicky, fragrant, spicy bowl that was sure to make me feel better.

At the market I spied some fresh clams which looked beautiful and so into the basket they went. A bunch of flat leaf parsley some tomatoes and a bottle of white wine (I love grocery stores in America!) and I had everything I needed.

Fregola sarda is a type of pasta from Sardinia that is similar to Israeli couscous. It is made from a semolina dough that is hand rolled into small 2 mm nuggets, then dried and toasted. This toasting results in a pleasing nutty flavour. It is often cooked like other types of pasta, in salted boiling water, but it can also be cooked in a similar fashion to rice. For ease and one-pot convenience I added it to the soup pot after sweating the fennel, shallots, garlic and chilli flakes. I stirred in the Fregola, added in a good splash of wine and then a few cups of chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the fregola is tender, with just a bit of a bite, and then in go your clams (mussels would be very good here as well).

Up your heat to high, add another cup or two of stock and cover your soup pot. In 3 to 4 minutes your clams should magically open and then all that is needed is a few grinds of black pepper, and a sprinkling of chopped parsley and a few of the fennel fronds.

The restorative powers of making and eating a simple bowl of soup.

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7 Responses to Clam and Fregola Soup with Fennel and Tomatoes

  1. Just weeks ago in Sarzana Italy I ate something very similar to this for lunch. It had clams and mussels, and as you mention, the mussels were very good in the dish. Now I think I’ll attempt making it myself. Thanks!

  2. gail monteen bourne says:

    I call myself a “Soup Lover” of all kinds of soup. Cold in the Summer and hot-hot-hot in the fall and winter. I don’t think there is a soup I don’t care for. I do perfer mussels over clams so that is how I plan to make this bowl of “goodness” this weekend.

  3. gail monteen bourne says:

    Oh, I got so carried away looking at the beautiful pictures and reading how to create this awesome soup I forgot to say….I hope you are feeling better !!!!

  4. Lisa Marr says:

    This looks really good… The question is: will Baba eat clams OR mussels???? She’s already ixnayed scallops and oysters….

  5. Sheryl says:

    What I want to know is what Baba DOES eat, isn’t she 99 and still bowling? Or is that Grandma? Either one, make a list…!

    How’s the bronchitis? Today is a day for soup here, that’s for sure.

  6. Tracy says:

    I hope you are feeling better. Nothing cures like a bowl of soup. Even under the weather you come up with the nicest of recipes.

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments and good wishes. I am officially on the mend.

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