Once dubbed couscous’ tastier cousin, fregula is not a grain, as some people believe, but rather an ancient form of pasta made from semolina. It’s similar to couscous, though couscous is light and fine, where fregula is coarse and rough. Fregula has been a staple of the Sardinian kitchen since Ligurian navigators imported it from North Africa.

Fregula is handmade with course semolina and water and then rubbed to form little pellets of pasta. The pasta is then dried and toasted to impart a nutty, wheaty flavor. When cooked, it is chewy but not gummy. Unlike barley, rice, lentils or potatoes, fregola cooks quickly and be can be done in less than 10 minutes, making it ideal for easy cooking.