- 1 lb fregola or other small pasta
- 20-30 fresh green almonds, or blanched regular ones
- 1 finely chopped small chile
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 1 T. finely chopped chives or green onions
- 1 T. finely chopped mint
- 3 T. tiny capers, rinsed if stored in salt
- 3 T. olive oil (use the good stuff)
- Lemon wedges to serve
- 1 T. ground bottarga, for garnish
If you have whole bottarga -- which is of higher quality than the pre-grated stuff -- cut off a one-inch piece and grind it or grate it, depending on whether your bottarga is hard-cured or still moist.
Boil your water, and salt it heavily. It should taste like the sea.
Cook the fregola for 10-12 minutes, or until still firm but edible -- you do not want mushy pasta.
If you are using green almonds, which are a delicacy found in some Middle Eastern or Italian markets in spring, crack them open and peel off the cream-colored skin, leaving the snow-white baby almond.
When the pasta is done, toss everything but the lemon wedges and the bottarga together in a big bowl. To finish the dish, squeeze some lemon juice over the pasta, then sprinkle about a teaspoon of bottarga over it all and serve at once.
I ate this with a Chenin Blanc from Clarksburg, in California, but any crisp white -- a Pinot Grigio would be excellent -- will go well with this recipe.