Fried Semolina / Semola Fritta


Semola Fritta is another traditional Sardinian dish made with fregola. Large-size couscous, which is similar to fregola, can be used. The original recipe calls for fresh lard but the substitution of pancetta combined with the taste of spicy salami more than compensates for the omission. The name “semola fritta” is a curious one, since the fregola are not fried at all.


  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
  • 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 1/4 cups diced white onion (2 large)
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) fregola (semolina grossa)
  • Fine sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup diced Sopressata or Genoa salami
  • Pecorino cheese for sprinkling


  1. In a large pan sauté the pancetta with the olive oil over low heat until the pancetta begins to crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and cook them slowly until they begin to brown.
  2. Pour in the hot water, bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot, and boil for 15 minutes. Stir in the fregola and mix well with a wooden spoon so they do not stick. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. The semolina should be al dente, not mushy; the grains should not be gummy.
  3. Stir in the salt and salami. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, sprinkle on the cheese and serve.
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