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Get creative with Israeli couscous
This week's recipe is a take on risotto, which typically uses short-grain arborio rice. We are substituting Israeli couscous, which cooks quite quickly and serves as a lighter spin on the classic dish.
Not familiar with Israeili couscous? Sometimes referred to as pearl couscous, it is a small, round pastalike grain. It's larger than regular couscous, and much more sturdy and starchy. Since you'll likely have some couscous left over if you buy it for the recipe below, here are three other ways to use it.
Make a cold salad: Mix cooked, chilled couscous with fresh herbs and bright ingredients like lemon juice. To 1 cup couscous add 1 cup herbs, like parsley and mint, 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1/2 cup each cucumbers and tomatoes to a bowl. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and serve.
Toasted topping: Most grains benefit from being toasted slightly before they are boiled, and this couscous is no exception. In a dry skillet set over medium heat, toast 1 cup couscous until it starts to brown slightly and becomes fragrant. Then, add water and cook according to package directions. When it's cooked, cool it a bit then add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup slivered almonds, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Stir to combine and to coat the couscous. Use it like you would granola.
Side dish: This couscous makes for a hearty side dish, especially when mixed with herbs and fruits. Cook 1 cup Israeli couscous, then mix with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme, 1 diced green apple and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Add a couple of tablespoons each apple-cider vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil, and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.