This easy fregula recipe (fregola) with cremini mushrooms, caramelized shallots and Parmesan cheese is a hearty and delicious side dish or vegetarian dinner.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
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Why you should make this recipe
A hearty one pot meal that can feed a handful of people is always a win in my book. If you enjoy trying new things, and you like mushrooms, this might be a recipe you’ll enjoy.
- Easy – This fregula recipe only requires a bit of slicing, stirring, and grating. It’s very low effort.
- Hearty & filling – This meal will fill you up, but it won’t leave you feeling heavy. It is hearty and comforting, and perfect for cooler weather.
- One pot meal – Everything cooks in one pot, meaning there is minimal cleanup.
Fregula recipe with mushrooms
One of the best things to come out of Sardinia as far as I’m concerned is fregula (or fregola). It is a toasted semolina pasta similar in size to Israeli Couscous.
They are chewy, toasted pasta pearls, and this is one of my favorite recipes for days when I need a bowl of something comforting and easy.
The first time I had fregula was in culinary school and I was instantly hooked. The pasta is unlike anything else. It has a dense, chewy texture that holds up really well with hearty ingredients making it perfect for an autumn meal.
To make this tasty fregula recipe, you’ll need a handful of kitchen staples.
- Stock – I used chicken stock, but if you want to keep this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable stock.
- Mushrooms – Cremini mushrooms are my favorite here because they available everywhere.
- White wine – Choose a dry white wine that you would drink. I used a Sauvignon Blanc.
- Fregula / Fregola – This toasted pasta is the star of the dish.
- Parmesan – Parmigiana Reggiano is nutty and delicious, but a great and less expensive option is Pecorino Romano.
- Shallots – Shallots have a milder flavor than onions, and they work perfectly in this recipe.
- Parsley & Rosemary – Fresh herbs help to elevate this dish and give it a ton of flavor.
- Olive oil – Don’t use your best olive oil, save that for finishing dishes or vinaigrettes.
- Garlic – Add as much or as little as you like.
How to make
Here’s a quick summary of how to make mushroom fregola. Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
- First, sauté the shallots until they begin to caramelize. Add the wine and reduce.
- Next, add the mushrooms.
- Let the mushrooms cook down until nicely browned.
- Finally, add fregula and stock, then cover and simmer until al dente.
The fregola will absorb all of the stock, which has been flavored by the cheese rind. This gives the toasted pasta incredible flavor.
I like to leave a bit of stock in mine, but if you prefer it drier, cook it for an additional few minutes until the stock has cooked off.
Fregula recipe FAQ’s
Fregula is a toasted semolina pasta from Sardinia, Italy. Because it is a toasted pasta, it has a slightly nutty flavor. It’s perfect for pasta salads, adding to soups or as a vegetarian main.
No, it is not. Fregola is made from wheat.
Fregula recipe variations and substitutions
If you can’t find fregula, you can substitute with Israeli couscous, farro or orzo.
To substitute for a Parmesan rind, use Pecorino Romano, or a Gruyere. The flavor will be slightly different, but it is a suitable replacement.
Use any fresh herbs that you have or like in this recipe. I added rosemary as the mushrooms and fregula were cooking, but thyme would also work really well.
Serve this pasta with a glass of the wine used in the recipe and a big green salad for dinner. This vegetarian recipe is perfect for dinner, or, for those who want to serve it as a side with meat, it pairs well with chicken, pork or beef.
Helpful tools and equipment
- Fregula pasta – This is the brand that I use.
- Shallow Dutch oven pan – Similar to the pan I use, it is slightly wider than it is tall.
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- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup white wine // 60ml
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced // 250g
- 1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken) // 720ml
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups fregula / fregola // 260g
- Parmesan cheese rind (optional, but highly recommended) *see notes
- 1/2 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, washed, dried and finely chopped // about 1/3 cup // 80ml
- In a medium-sized Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced shallots to pot and stir to coat with oil.
- Let them cook for 8 - 10 minutes until they begin to caramelize. (Reduce heat if they are browning too quickly.)
- Add wine and reduce by half. (This should take 4 - 5 minutes.)
- Next, add the mushrooms to the shallots. Season with salt and pepper, stir to combine and add the sprig of rosemary. (Mushrooms will release a lot of liquid, it will take 20 - 25 minutes for them to cook down.) Stir mushrooms occasionally to prevent burning and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the yummy brown bits that have stuck as it is cooking.
- Add the fregula and garlic, stir it to combine, then add the stock. Add the cheese rind if you have one.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then cover and reduce heat to medium/medium low. Simmer for 10 - 12 minutes.
- Remove lid and continue to cook for an additional 2 - 4 minutes, until fregola has thickened slightly.
- Turn off the heat. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley to the fregula. Stir to combine. Serve with extra grated parmesan and the remaining parsley on top.
If you happen to have a piece of cheese rind from a hunk of Parmesan, toss it in to the pot. I stash them in the freezer to use in pots of soup or meals like this. The piece I used was about 3 or 4 inches long, but use whatever you have. Some stores (like Whole Foods), sell cheese rinds - ask someone in the cheese department.
To keep this dish vegetarian - use vegetable stock, not chicken stock.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 245mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published 9/30/11.