Since I was sort of dreaming of clams with fregola, I decided to stick with the small toasted pasta and basically substitute browned sausage for the clams. I started by sautéing chopped red onion in olive oil, along with a couple cloves of garlic and some diced hot peppers from our garden. After a couple minutes I tossed in the sliced sausage links and let them brown in the hot oil. I added in two chopped tomatoes and let them cook down for about 3 minutes before adding in 1 cup each of wine, water, chicken broth, and fregola. I brought the liquid up to a boil, covered the pan and let the pasta simmer for about 25 minutes until very tender.
Since the sausage was a bit more French/Alsatian perhaps than Italian (there is something a bit sweet in the mixture, maybe cranberry or currant or apple), I decided to top James' dinner with a dollop of tangy, washed rind Delice de Bourgogne cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.