Vongole con cous cous
Left-over pasta frittata
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This is my go-to dish for entertaining – it’s simple, fairly impressive and damn tasty. The inspiration of this dish comes from my favourite pasta dish, spaghetti vongole and a traditional pasta dish from Sardinia called fregola con vongole. Fregola is a type of pasta that is made into small balls and then toasted until golden. They resemble couscous but are larger and heartier with a nutty taste. It can be difficult to find so a good replacement is Israeli couscous, which is readily available in supermarkets (whatever you do, do not use regular couscous; it won’t give you the same result).
Double, triple, do what you like with this recipe. It’s rather hard to mess up.
500 g vongole
1 tablespoon of olive oil
100 g pancetta, thickly sliced and cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 chilli, thinly sliced (depending how hot you like it)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
½ bunch parsley, stems thinly sliced and leaves chopped ready for garnish
¾ cup toasted Israeli couscous
30 ml white wine
400 ml chicken or fish stock stock
Tip your vongole into a bowl of cold water and swish them around to shake off any dirt. Drain and set asideHeat a deep side saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and pancetta and fry for 3 minutes or until golden. Add garlic, chilli, cherry tomatoes and thinly chopped parsley stems and cook for 2 minutes.
Add couscous and give it a good stir to allow it to soak up the flavour. Add wine and let it cook away while you stir. Pour chicken stock in and cook for 4 minutes.
Tip in vongole and place the lid on your saucepan. Cook for a further 3 to 4 minutes or until the vongole have opened and the cous cous is tender.
Remove from the heat and stir through parsley, reserving a small amount for garnish.
Ladle into bowls, season with salt and sprinkle over remaining parsley. An extra drizzle of olive oil and you’re ready to go.