Somewhere between couscous and pasta lies Zaccagni’s fregola, a delicious little grain from Sardinia. Also called fregula in the local dialect, fregola's history goes all the way back to the 10th century, when it was made by hand by rolling semolina dough in a terra cotta bowl called a scivedda until it formed small beads. Today, it's passed through bronze dies, giving the surface a rough texture that clings to sauce. Its name is a reference to the way it’s made: the verb sfregolare means to crumble or reduce to crumbs. While food historians agree it was inspired by couscous—the island of Sardinia is located between Italy and North Africa in the Mediterranean Sea—fregola is oven-toasted, giving it a rich, nutty flavor that brings depth to any dish.
The only ingredients in Zaccagni’s artisan pasta are minimally processed, organically grown semolina flour and pure spring water from the Majella mountains. The dough is pressed through 100-year-old bronze dies, coveted among pasta aficionados. Bronze dies create a rough texture as the pasta passes through them, leaving an uneven surface that’s perfect for absorbing sauce, making every bite more flavorful. Finally, it’s slow-dried at low temperatures to ensure it cooks up tender yet toothsome, with just the right amount of al dente resistance.
Abruzzo is a verdant gem on the eastern coast of Italy, midway down the country’s “boot.” The region is known for its wines, most famously montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and has miles of coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Abruzzo also has the highest concentration of national parkland in Europe, including the stunning peaks of the Majella mountains, home to golden eagles and stunning wildflowers. Zaccagni’s facility is set amongst the foothills of the Majella range, in the medieval town of Miglianico.