We eat creamy, comforting pasta dishes all winter long, but when the winter weather fades and summer comes along…well, we’re definitely still eating pasta! Thankfully, a cold pasta salad is actually one of the best meals for hot days, but if we’re being honest, it can get a little boring sometimes. Just think of how many pasta salads you’ve had in your life, and you’ll see what we mean. So when Giada De Laurentiis shared her Italian secret for pasta salad, we were immediately intrigued. It turns out that all it takes is a simple pasta swap to change up your pasta salad in a totally delicious way.
Her secret? She uses fregola, a toasted Sardinian pasta with a shape similar to pearl couscous, in her pasta salad. Not only does it add a new depth of nutty flavor to your favorite pasta salad recipe, but it also has a satisfying round shape that’s sturdy enough to sit in the fridge soaking up a flavorful pasta salad dressing without getting soggy.
Though you can serve fregola warm — De Laurentiis says that it’s often served in a saffron sauce, or with a simple tomato sauce — it’s especially delicious in cold salads that normally call for pasta, orzo, or pearl cous cous.
You might not be able to find fregola at your usual grocery store, but the good news it’s that it’s easy to find online.
Pick up a bag (or a two pack) before the weather starts heating up too much, and your pantry will be stocked with the secret ingredient to Giada De Laurentiis’ perfect pasta salad.
Just add dressing, your favorite veggies and fresh herbs, and you’ve got one of the most refreshing summer meals we can think of.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:
Watch: How to Make Giada De Laurentiis’ Stuffed Lasagna Rolls
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