Despite what you may have heard, COUSCOUS is actually pasta made of semolina and wheat flour, not a type of whole grain, even though it does have a rice-like appearance. This North African staple is popular all over the world, the two most common varieties found in America are Moroccan and Israeli style or Pearl. Pearl is the one I'll be using for today's recipe. I like it better than others because it's larger and has a nutty flavor and a chewier texture.
With this being the first week of spring, I felt like it would be a great idea to make a Pasta Primavera. A Primavera sauce, which translates to spring from Spanish, is a popular American dish that is usually made with pasta and a mixture of fresh vegetables. This is a very simple and quick recipe, feel free to use more or less of the veggies or even change the vegetables of your liking, so make it your own! I'll be using six items off this week's Farm Box.
Farm Couscous Primavera
Serves 4 people
3 cups water
2 tsp olive oil or butter
2 cup pearl couscous
3 tbsp blended oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2oz shiitake mushroom
1 cup kale, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 pound English peas, weighed in the pod
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp parmesan cheese
Parsley for garnish
Lemon zest for garnish
For couscous: Bring water to boil, add salt and oil or butter, stir in couscous. Cover with lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked remove the lid and stir, set aside.
For Primavera: In a large saute pan add oil, bring to medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until light golden brown color, add mushrooms, kale, cauliflower, and celery, cook until vegetables start to soften, around 4-5 minutes, then add spinach, and English peas, cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add stock and bring to boil, once boiling add butter and cooked couscous. Lower the temperature to medium heat and stir constantly until the sauce has thickened and the couscous has absorbed all the liquid, add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
Garnish with parsley, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest.
Pro Tip: Toast your couscous before you boil it in a little butter or oil to really enhance the flavors. Also, add 1 tbsp of white wine and/or 1 tbsp of heavy cream when you add your stock, to thicken it and make it richer.
Bacon will always spruce this dish up, just substitute the olive oil for the vegetables for the fat from the bacon.