Inspired by a recipe in Faith Heller Willinger's Adventures of an Italian Food Lover, this dish serves 4 as a first course, or 2 as a main course with a bit left for lunch the next day.
2 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
2 cups water
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 oz fresh sausage (I use mild Italian turkey sausage)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional), to taste
2 Tbsp dry white wine
1 cup fregula sarda
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or more to taste
2 tsp minced flat-leaf parsley
Lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Wash and thinly slice the white part of the leeks, and add to a deep sauté pan (or small stock pot or Dutch oven) with the olive oil. Cook over low heat until the leeks are translucent, 3-4 minutes.
Add the sausage, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until browned on all sides. Add red pepper flakes, white wine, and fregula. Stir to combine, and add the hot chicken stock.
Bring to a boil over medium heat; then reduce heat to low and simmer until the fregula is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed (add additional water, a few tablespoons at a time, if needed).
Remove from heat, and stir in the cheese, parsley, and plenty of black pepper.
Serve hot or at room temperature.