Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Tomatoes & Olive Sauce


A Two for Tuesday Recipe:

The Hub has never been a fan of couscous, yet we recently had it in San Francisco and he seemed to like it. The catch was that he chowed down on Israeli couscous and not the Moroccan variety.  If you aren't familiar with couscous, it's basically a pasta made from semolina.  These are three varieties I am most familiar with;
  • Moroccan, small semolina grains that cook quickly 
  • Israeli, small round "pearls" about the size of a peppercorn, longer cooking time
  • Lebanese, a bit larger than Israeli and about the size of petite peas, requires longer cooking time

Personally, I love any of these variety of couscous but never make it because I end up being the only one eating it. Now that the Hub had found one he liked, I was on a mission! So I picked a bag up at the grocery store and developed this recipe. The tomatoes and garlic take on a deeper flavor as they roast, and the olives offer that nice tang that completes the sauce.

For Sauce:
2 pints of red grape* or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Olive oil to drizzle
1/2 head of garlic left unpeeled, cloves separated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 of chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 - 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup of black and green olives, sliced

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Place tomatoes cup side up on a baking sheet lined with foil. Scatter unpeeled garlic cloves throughout sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast for 1 to 1 1/4 hour. Let cool. Separate about 1/2 cup of the tomatoes, set aside. Peel or squeeze the garlic from cloves into a blender or food processor, add the roasted tomatoes and add the oil, stock, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Puree till smooth and thick. Pour into a bowl, stir in the tomatoes that were set aside, along with the  the olives. Sprinkle each serving with minced basil.

For the Couscous:
2 1/4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups Israeli couscous
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup of kale or spinach, torn into bite size pieces

Bring stock to a boil. Add all the remaining ingredients. Bring back to a boil, cover and reduce heat, simmer for 8-10 minutes, be sure to stir occasionally.

To serve ladle the Roasted Tomatoes and Olive sauce over couscous. Delicious as a side to poached or lightly sauteed fish in olive oil (as pictured). This would also make a delicious sauce for Eryka's Cheesy Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs.

*Recipe Notes:  I like to switch up the tomato variety when I make this sauce. This time around the yellow and red grape tomatoes were are a great sale price and I picked up a pint of each. The results, visually stunning  and the taste was divine!

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