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JUMBO SHRIMP WITH FREGOLA


Ingredients
16 head-on jumbo shrimp
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1/4 medium onion, sliced
1/2 pound fregola (see Tips, below)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Thinly sliced fresh parsley and basil for garnish

 

Preparation
Peel shrimp, reserving heads and shells. Devein shrimp. Put shrimp heads and shells in large pot. Add celery, carrot, tomato, onion, and 4 1D2 cups water. Set over high heat, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, skimming occasionally.
 

Strain broth into 4-cup measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract flavorful liquid. Add water if necessary to make 4 cups liquid. Return broth to pan, add fregola, and set over high heat. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer additional 5 minutes.

Divide among 4 soup bowls. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over each bowl, and sprinkle with parsley and basil.

 

Preparation Notes: Fregola, a common Sardinian semolina pasta, consists of tiny balls that are flavored with saffron and resemble Israeli couscous. Simmered in broth or water, this versatile ingredient appears in soups, stews, and sides.

 

To prepare fresh fregola, first preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Place 1 pound couscous (not the precooked variety) on a large serving platter and spread it all over. Mix 1 cup cold water with 1 extra-large egg, a pinch of salt and a large pinch ground saffron, preferably Sardinian (optional). Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the mixture over the couscous. Start rubbing the grains between the palms of your hands so the water is absorbed uniformly. Transfer the couscous to a jelly-roll pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the couscous rest until cool, about 1 hour. Add 2 more tablespoons of the water mixture and repeat the same technique, adding more liquid and rubbing the grain again. Some tiny balls begin to form. Return to the oven for 15 minutes more, remove, let cool and with 2 more tablespoons of the liquid each time, repeat the procedure until all the liquid is used up. At that moment you have formed the fregola by attaching grains of couscous together in small balls. If you want to separate the larger ones to be used boiled with a sauce from the smaller ones used for broth, place all the fregola in a sifter and gently shake it; the small ones will pass through and the larger ones will remain in the sifter.

 

Makes 4 servings.

 

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