Chef Michel Roux Jr offers his insider tips on cooking with fregola pasta and how to go about matching wine with squid, in his latest recipe with wine suggestions for Decanter.com.

Pan seared squid & fregola risotto – Michel Roux Jr recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 135g fregola sarda
  • 400g fish stock/ vegetable stock
  • 20g grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • ½ a white onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g squid
  • 30ml olive oil
  • ½ the zest of a lemon
  • ½ the zest of a mandarin
  • ¼ of lemon grass stick
  • ¼ bunch of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 small deseeded red chili
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Clean and score the squid before cutting into medium sized triangle pieces.
  2. Place the squid in a shallow dish and drizzle the of olive oil and roughly chopped lemon grass on top. Set aside for at least a couple of hours in the fridge (or even overnight).
  3. Once the time has elapsed, remove the squid from the marinade and discard the lemon grass.
  4. Season the squid with salt and pepper before pan searing scored side down first in a very hot non stick pan. Cook the squid for no more than 1 minute on each side, otherwise you risk it becoming chewy.
  5. Cook the fregola as you would a risotto. Finely dice the onion and gently cook in a medium sized saucepan with olive oil.
  6. Once the chopped onion is translucent and tender add the fregola to the pan. After a couple of minutes deglaze with white wine and add your first ladle of stock to the saucepan stirring gently.
  7. Let the fregola absorb the stock before adding the next ladle. This slow method keeps the pasta firm and concentrates the flavour of the dish.
  8. Repeat this process until the fregola is “al dente”; cooked, yet still with a little bite.
  9. After 10 to 15 minutes; remove from the heat and incorporate the butter, parmesan and mascarpone.
  10. Once all the dairy products are properly combined and melted season to taste with salt, pepper and zests of lemon mandarin.
  11. Only at the last minute; just before serving incorporate the freshly chopped parsley and sliced red chili to the cooked fregola. For extra zing and colour scatter a few zests of citrus on the plate.

Wines to drink with squid and fregola risotto

Fregola is a rolled and toasted pasta from Sardinia that I love using in new recipes. This dish is fresh and vibrant, with zings of citrus that will definitely tantalise your taste buds.

You must tread carefully when pairing wine with squid. With a delicate flavour and defined texture, you do not want to overpower with a heavily oaked or deeply tannic red wine. A crisp and dry Montagny 1er Cru, Les Millières 2012 from Burgundy‘s Côte Chalonnaise has the renowned balance of a Burguandian Chardonnay perfect to accompany this dish.

A young and refreshing Sancerre rosé 2014 by Brigitte & Daniel Chotard would also do wonders with this recipe. It’s a vibrant wine from the Loire region capable of breaking through the richness of the risotto, yet not overshadowing the squid.

From the same producers, I suggest the Sancerre blanc, Cuvée Marcel Henri 2013. A pure and precise Sauvignon Blanc with crisp, dry and aromatic flavours. This expressive white wine is the perfect wine to compliment this Italian inspired dish.

Matching Wines

Cave des Vignerons de Buxy, Montagny 1er Cru, Les Millières 2012

Incredibly good value for such a wonderful, fresh Chardonnay. Gloriously fruity and summery with peach and apricot aromas and a light citrus, lemon bite. Fantastic to drink alongside the meaty squid and creamy risotto. RRP: £11.99 Majestic Wine

Brigitte & Daniel Chotard, Sancerre rosé 2014

An exuberant and fresh rose that’s tremendously easy to drink, especially served chilled on a sunny afternoon alongside this light, seasonal dish.  Lashing of red berries on the palate, and a hint of spice which compliments the vibrancy of the dish. RRP: £17.25 from Berry Bros & Rudd

Brigitte & Daniel Chotard, Cuvée Marcel Henri, Sancerre 2013

A wonderful Sancerre, it is medium bodied with a distinctive minerality from the rich soil from which it is grown on the left bank of the Loire Valley. RRP: £22.95 from Berry Bros and Rudd

Editing by Chris Mercer

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