A recent post by David Lebovitz about an Israeli couscous recipe from Gourmet sent me straight to the kitchen. The combination of roasted butternut squash, golden raisins, pine nuts, and preserved lemons sounded fantastic. But, I couldn’t resist making a few changes.
Instead of using butternut squash (which, for some odd reason, my husband dislikes), I used roasted sweet potato, and I swapped out the golden raisins for dried cranberries. Although I had pine nuts on hand, I wanted to use pumpkin seeds. Instead of cutting up a whole preserved lemon, I used a few spoonfuls of Pereg Spicy Pickled Lemon, which is basically a spread of chopped preserved lemon, olive oil, and seasonings.
The recipe called for boiling and draining the Israeli couscous, but I rejected this cooking method and opted instead for the method suggested on the Osem box: (1) fry an onion in a saucepan until golden; (2) add the couscous and cook it for a minute or so; and (3) add boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and couscous is tender. The advantage of this method is that it gives a full flavored pilaf that can be served by itself. I set aside some of this plain couscous for the pickier eaters.
By the way, did you know that Osem actually is responsible for creating this product ? It is actually a pasta made from wheat and is not really a form of (semolina based) couscous at all.
This recipe was delicious, both warm and room temperature, but next I want to try adding scallions, orange zest, saffron, and pecans. Or maybe with olives and roasted tomatoes . . .