Fregola Soup with Rosemary

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste or puree
8 cups beef stock
2 small rosemary sprigs
2 cups (235 grams) fregola
salt
2 cups (225 grams) grated pecorino sardo

Heat the 4 tbsp olive oil and shallots in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot placed over medium heat. Sauté, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the shallots are slightly softened.

In a small bowl, stir the tomato paste/puree with a splash or “two of the broth to dilute. Stir the mixture into the shallots. Pour the remaining broth into the pot and add the rosemary. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Gently pour in the fregola, stirring with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula as you pour. Cover partially and let the soup boil for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the fregola is al dente and the broth has thickened. Taste and add salt, if you like.

Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese. Ladle the soup into warmed shallow, rimmed bowls and top with the remaining cheese, adding a little mound to each bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil over the surface of the soup. Serve immediately.

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