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Fregola Sarda with Clams & Zucchini

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 4

This vibrant pasta dish—inspired by the Sardinian classic Fregola con Vongele—is Italian summer in a bowl (close your eyes and you can almost feel the Mediterranean breeze kiss your face). Traditionally, this dish is made with crushed tomatoes, but here we lightened it up with fresh zucchini, plenty of chopped parsley and a touch of lemon zest.

Recipe by Asha Loupy


  • 1/4 cup Italian extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 pounds manila, littleneck or savoury clams, scrubbed and rinsed well
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (you want the zucchini to be about the size of the pasta)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnishing


Bring a large pot of water of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the fregola sarda until just barely al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving at least one cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 30 seconds. Add the chili flakes and continue to cook for another 30 seconds. Add the wine and clams and cover and cook until the clams open, about 4-6 minutes, depending on their size. Turn off the heat.

Drain the clams over a large bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the garlic cloves and any unopened clams. Shuck half the clams, discarding the empty shells. Reserve both the whole and shucked clams.

Return the pot you used to cook the clams to the stove and heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the zucchini and stir to coat with the oil. Spread the zucchini out in a single layer, letting them turn a gold brown on one side, about 1-2 minutes. Add the reserved clam cooking liquid and cooked fregola sarda, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2-4 minutes, or until the fregola sarda reaches your desired doneness. This dish is meant to be brothy; add a little bit of the reserved pasta cooking liquid if the pasta starts looking dry.

Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest, parsley, reserved shucked clams and half of the whole clams. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Transfer the pasta and the broth to a large serving bowl, or shallow individual serving bowls, and garnish with the remaining whole clams, a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy with a glass (or two) of dry Italian white wine, like Vermentino or Pecorino (not the cheese)—salut!