Mussels with Fregola
- 1 cup fregola (Sardinian) or Israeli couscous
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus a little extra for the fregola
- 2 pounds cultivated mussels, well rinsed and scrubbed
- 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tbsp. roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp. roughly chopped dill
- 1 tbsp. slivered basil
- 6 tbsp. very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- ½ cup best quality store-bought pesto from the refrigerator section
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 ounces ricotta salata, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fregola and cook for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Drain well in a colander and toss with a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.
- Turn on asado to medium high heat, Hot enough so that drops of water will dance across the pan when dropped on it.
- Drizzle some olive oil on the asado and place mussels on all at once. It is best to have only one layer of mussels. If grill is a bit crowded, stir them up as they cook. The mussels will cook in their own juices and will open as they cook. Every so often, shake in a bit of salt and red pepper flakes mixing them up each time. Discard any mussels that have not opened. It means they are not good!
- Meanwhile, warm ⅓ cup of the olive oil in a large saucepan with a over medium-low heat. Add garlic, oregano, and red-pepper flakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is softened and fragrant. Transfer the mussels to the pan, ddd the white wine and half the parsley, dill, and basil,shaking it to distribute the mussels in the pan so they continue to cook evenly.
- Stir in fregola, butter, pesto, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and remaining parsley and dill. To serve, ladle into large bowls with plenty of the broth and fregola and garnish with the ricotta salata.