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Sep 21, 2019

Shrimp and Tomato Stew with Fregola

This Shrimp and Tomato Stew with Fregola is a Sardinian dish made with shrimp and a pasta of semolina flour and water.

This shrimp and tomato stew with fregola features a pasta that is toasted after it is dried. It has a nutty flavor and is actually pretty easy to make and dry on your own.

While being ambitious, but not that ambitious, I decided to scour the one local authentic Italian deli left in my area and found a bag of delicious fregola to make this stew.

Fregola is made with semolina flour and water. Once it has dried, it is toasted to bring out the flavor. It is very similar to couscous. In fact, if you can't find fregola, you can easily substitute pearl couscous. You will just need to toast it.

Place the couscous in in a large dry skillet and cook over medium heat until golden brown. You will still need to adjust the cooking time of the final dish, as couscous may absorb liquid at a different rate.

Making this shrimp and tomato stew with fregola is sort of like making risotto in that it requires some attention and stirring while adding liquid.

You cook the pasta in chicken broth and clam juice after simmering shrimp shells in the same liquid to infuse it with even more flavor. In fact, I never buy raw shrimp without the shells because I love using the shells for seafood stock.

This dish is "shrimpy" and tomato-y, and loaded with flavor. Everyone who tried it raved about it.

This month our Soup Saturday group, hosted by Colleen of Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck, Despite a Whiskered Accomplice, is making soup with pasta.

Here are everyone's recipes for soup with pasta:

Fregola with Shrimp and Tomatoes

Yield: 4 servings
This Shrimp and Tomato Stew with Fregola is a Sardinian dish made with shrimp and a pasta of semolina flour and water.


  • 2 pounds extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined. Reserve the shells. 
  • Two 8 ounce bottles of clam juice. 
  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fregola
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


How to cook Fregola with Shrimp and Tomatoes

  1. Combine the shrimp shells, clam juice, chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, and pepper corns in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. 
  2. Pour the ingredients through a mesh strainer into a heat proof bowl, reserving the liquid. 
  3. Season the raw shrimp with salt and pepper. 
  4. In a 6 to 8 quart pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add half of the shrimp and cook without stirring for about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate. Add a tablespoon of oil and repeat with the rest of the shrimp. 
  5. Heat the same pot over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tomatoes, onion, carrot, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the garlic and fregola, and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups of the strained broth and bring to a simmer. 
  7. Cook over medium low for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Add 2 more cups of the broth and simmer while stirring regularly, for 8 to 10 minutes. 
  9. Add the rest of the broth and cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. 
  10. Turn off the heat and stir in the shrimp, a tablespoon of the oil, lemon juice, and parsley. Cover the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes, until the shrimp is fully cooked. 
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
fregola, pasta, soup, stew
Created using The Recipes Generator

Recipe adapted from Milk Street Magazine, September/October 2019. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. This looks like a bowl of heaven to me!

  2. Your soup looks delicious, Karen. I don't see fregola often, but we always enjoy it when we have it. Thanks for sharing. I'll keep a closer eye out so I can try this soup.

  3. This sounds great and the colors are so visually appealing. I do love pastina type soups and couscous soups so this one is on my radar when I get a chance.

  4. I have never heard of Fregola. I'll bet it added a great depth of flavor to this gorgeous soup.

    1. I hadn't either, but I'm so glad I tried it.

  5. Fregola! so hard for me to find here, unless of course I break my resolve and jump into ;-)

  6. I just made this and followed the recipe exactly as written with the only exception of subbing chicken broth with water. This was amazing! I will definitely be making this again.

    1. Wonderful!!! I wish more folks knew about fregola!


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