Fregula with Mutton Ragù (Fregola al Ragù di Pecora)

At A Casa di Nonna restaurant in Pula in the South of Sardinia I enjoyed Fregola al ragù di pecora con vino rosso, which is fregula/fregola with a mutton ragù with red wine. Fregula is a Sardinian version of couscous, which is more coarse than regular couscous. With the bits of ground mutton at about the same size, this makes for a very nice texture of the dish. Since I had found a source for mutton in Netherlands, I am making a series of mutton dishes. You could also make this with beef or lamb and it won’t be as special, but still very good. Here is my version of this simple but tasty dish. There is only a bit of tomato in this ragù and I’ve used two types of tomato: sundried tomatoes and fresh raw tomato. I still had some mutton stock in my freezer from when I made Zuppa Gallurese.


For 3-4 servings as a primo piatto

  • 300 grams (2 cups) fregula
  • 450 grams (1 lb) ground mutton
  • 250 ml (1 cup) red wine
  • 250 ml (1 cup) homemade mutton stock
  • 2 sundried tomatoes, soaked for 10 minutes, and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and diced
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


I bought mutton suitable for stewing, and ground it myself.

Soak 2 sundried tomatoes in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and mince them together with 2 garlic cloves.

Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan and add 450 grams of ground mutton. Season with salt.

Cook over high heat, stirring with a wooden spatula, until the mutton is nicely browned and a brown crust has formed on the pan.

Add the minced garlic and sundried tomatoes, and stir for another minute.

Deglaze with 250 ml red wine.

Stir with a wooden spatula to loosen up the brown crust in the pan.

Add 2 bay leaves, and allow the wine to reduce by half to burn off the alcohol.

Add 250 ml of mutton stock.

Bring to a boil.

Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for a couple of hours over very low heat.

The ragù should not be soupy but not too dry either. Add some hot water if needed.

Boil the fregula al dente according to the package instructions in ample salted water.

In the meantime, skin, seed, and dice 2 plum tomatoes as described in this recipe (this is called concassé in French).

When the fregula are done, drain them, and add them to the ragù, together with the diced tomato and a tablespoon of minced fresh flat leaf parsley.

Stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve on preheated plates.

Wine pairing

This is nice with a red wine from Sardinia, a Cannonau di Sardegna or a Carignano del Sulcis.

3 thoughts on “Fregula with Mutton Ragù (Fregola al Ragù di Pecora)

  1. Very interesting! I do not have fregola in the pantry at the moment but have gad it and can easily get it. My local butcher grins but can easily get mutton . . . . like the sound of this and shall try . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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