Late-Summer Fregola Sarda Pasta with Romano Beans, Ricotta & Crispy Capers

Late-Summer Fregola Sarda Pasta

with Romano Beans, Ricotta & Crispy Capers

45 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Rustic fregola sarda is the perfect choice for tonight’s pasta dish, brimming with the seasonal flavors of Romano beans (a robust flat bean popular in Italy), sweet pepper and tender eggplant. Sweet and tangy tomato sauce finds a delicious counterpoint in silky ricotta, dolloped onto the pasta before serving. We’re topping it all off with briny capers and fresh oregano—pan-fried together to heighten their flavors and create delightfully crispy texture.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    705 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients & season the ricotta:

1 Prepare the ingredients & season the ricotta:


Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick the oregano leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Small dice the eggplant. Snap off and discard the stem ends of the beans; cut into 1-inch pieces on an angle. Remove and discard the stem, ribs and seeds of the pepper, then small dice. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Peel and mince the shallot. In a bowl, combine the cheese and 1 teaspoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fry the capers & oregano:

2 Fry the capers & oregano:


Place a paper towel on a work surface; spread the capers on top. Using a second paper towel, gently pat or roll the capers to thoroughly dry. In a large, high-sided pan (or pot), combine the dried capers and a thin layer of oil. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the capers are lightly browned and crispy. Add half the oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until crispy. Leaving the oil in the pan, using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the fried capers and oregano to a bowl; immediately stir in as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be.

Cook the eggplant:

3 Cook the eggplant:


Add the eggplant to the pan of reserved oil. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned and slightly softened. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the pasta:

4 Cook the pasta:


While the eggplant cooks, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until slightly tender. Reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Cook the vegetables:

5 Cook the vegetables:


While the pasta cooks, in the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the beans, pepper, garlic and shallot; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark red and fragrant.

Finish the pasta & plate your dish:

6 Finish the pasta & plate your dish:


Add the cooked pasta, cooked eggplant, butter, remaining oregano and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan. Cook, stirring vigorously, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is tender; season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Top with the seasoned cheese. Garnish with the fried capers and oregano. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients & season the ricotta:


Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Pick the oregano leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Small dice the eggplant. Snap off and discard the stem ends of the beans; cut into 1-inch pieces on an angle. Remove and discard the stem, ribs and seeds of the pepper, then small dice. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Peel and mince the shallot. In a bowl, combine the cheese and 1 teaspoon of olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste.

2 Fry the capers & oregano:


Place a paper towel on a work surface; spread the capers on top. Using a second paper towel, gently pat or roll the capers to thoroughly dry. In a large, high-sided pan (or pot), combine the dried capers and a thin layer of oil. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until the capers are lightly browned and crispy. Add half the oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until crispy. Leaving the oil in the pan, using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the fried capers and oregano to a bowl; immediately stir in as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be.

Fry the capers & oregano:

Cook the eggplant:

3 Cook the eggplant:


Add the eggplant to the pan of reserved oil. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned and slightly softened. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan.

4 Cook the pasta:


While the eggplant cooks, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until slightly tender. Reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Cook the pasta:

Cook the vegetables:

5 Cook the vegetables:


While the pasta cooks, in the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the beans, pepper, garlic and shallot; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark red and fragrant.

6 Finish the pasta & plate your dish:


Add the cooked pasta, cooked eggplant, butter, remaining oregano and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan. Cook, stirring vigorously, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is tender; season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Top with the seasoned cheese. Garnish with the fried capers and oregano. Enjoy!

Finish the pasta & plate your dish:

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