Serves 4 to 6
Fregola, tiny round pasta shapes made from semolina, is hearty and chewy like a grain but cooks quickly. This hearty pasta salad is best when made a bit ahead to let the flavors mingle. Fregola is very versatile. In addition to this preparation, I also like it cooked risotto-style with seafood.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups fregola
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, plus more as needed
- 6 ounces young provolone, diced
- 6 ounces mortadella, diced
- 1 cup diced yellow or orange bell pepper
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup pitted black Italian olives, slivered
- 1/3 cup toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 6 cups baby arugula
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the fregola and cook until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes. Rinse and drain. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the colander.
While the fregola is still warm, but not hot, add to a large serving bowl. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and toss. Add the provolone, mortadella, peppers, celery, red onion, and olives. Toss well. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour (or in the refrigerator for longer) to let the flavors mingle. (If you refrigerate, let come to room temperature before serving.)
To serve, add the pistachios and toss. If the salad seems dry, drizzle with a bit more oil and vinegar and toss again. Spread the arugula on a serving platter. Mound the fregola on top and serve.