Saffron-Scented Fregola with Marinated Cuttlefish

Saffron-Scented Fregola with Marinated Cuttlefish
Francesco Tonelli


  • 1 Pound  fresh whole cuttlefish, cleaned
  • 1/4 Cup  chopped fennel or dill fronds
  • 1/2 Cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  kosher salt
  • quarts meat or shellfish broth, plus more to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon  saffron threads
  • 1/4 Cup  minced shallot
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Pound  fregola
  •   5-6 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/4 Cup  minced flat-leaf parsley
  •   Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Fregola is a type of pasta that hails from Sardinia, an island located off the west coast of Italy. Its chewy texture and appearance are reminiscent of Israeli couscous, so if you can't find fregola, it will make a decent substitute in this dish; just adjust the cooking time appropriately to make sure it retains its pleasant chewiness.

Click here to see A Pasta Cookbook for All Seasons.


Cut the cuttlefish in strips. In a bowl, toss the cuttlefish together with the fennel or dill fronds, ¼ cup of the olive oil, and salt. Let the cuttlefish marinate at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the saffron and let it steep until the broth is a rich, golden yellow color. Keep the broth hot.

Heat the remaining oil in a large pot over low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the fregola and the tomatoes and stir to coat evenly with the oil.

Add enough of the broth to cover the fregola by ½ inch, and cook, stirring occasionally. As the fregola absorb the broth, keep adding more, and cook until the fregola are tender but still have a bit of bite, about 12 minutes. (They should be quite moist, with a loose but not soupy consistency.)

Add the cuttlefish and the parsley and continue to cook just until the cuttlefish is cooked, for 2 more minutes. Season with pepper, to taste. Serve at once on heated plates.


Calories per serving:

526 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Balanced, High Fiber Sugar Conscious, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Milk Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added

Daily value:



  • Fat 116g 178%
  • Carbs 384g 128%
  • Saturated 16g 81%
  • Fiber 30g 121%
  • Sugars 14g
  • Monounsaturated 80g
  • Polyunsaturated 14g
  • Protein 137g 275%
  • Cholesterol 508mg 169%
  • Sodium 3,229mg 135%
  • Calcium 688mg 69%
  • Magnesium 421mg 105%
  • Potassium 3,614mg 103%
  • Iron 36mg 200%
  • Zinc 13mg 86%
  • Phosphorus 2,681mg 383%
  • Vitamin A 793µg 88%
  • Vitamin C 105mg 175%
  • Thiamin (B1) 1mg 65%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 5mg 272%
  • Niacin (B3) 24mg 121%
  • Vitamin B6 2mg 89%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 257µg 64%
  • Vitamin B12 14µg 227%
  • Vitamin D 0µg 0%
  • Vitamin E 18mg 88%
  • Vitamin K 380µg 475%
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