EASTER: ROAST CARROT AND FREGOLA SALAD

Fregola or Fregula is a Sardinian pasta which has a lovely nuttiness and texture. It is said that the pasta was brought to Sardinia by Ligurian immigrants who lived in Tunisia and thus shares similarities to the cous cous of North Africa. Whilst more traditioanlly cooked almost risotto style with clams, here I've turned it into a wonderful Autumnal salad. If you cant find fregola, you could use cous cous or even a grain such as barley, freekah or wheat. 

500g carrots, preferably small heirloom varieties

2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

2tbsp marsala

2tbsp olive oil, plus extra for dressing

Sea salt

200g fregola

large handful each of tarragon and parsley, finely chopped

50g walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

Zest of an orange

Sherry vinegar

Preheat oven to 180C. 

Scrub and trim the carrots. Halve any larger ones then arrange them all in a large roasting tray. Nestle the shallots around the carrots. Drizzle over the marsala and olive oil and season with sea salt. Toss with your hands to coat everything then roast in the preheated oven for around one hour or until the carrots are tender. Set aside to cool briefly.  

Meanwhile cook the fregola in a pot of generously salted boiling water until al dente, around 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Transfer fregola to a large bowl and stir in the herbs, walnuts and orange zest. Add the roasted carrots, shallots and any liquid from the roasting pan. Toss to combine and drizzle with olive oil, a good lug to coat everything. Check for seasoning and drizzle in some sherry vinegar to balance the salad, around 1-2 tablespoons. Toss to combine then tumble the salad onto a serving plate