Israeli Couscous Risotto

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I’m a firm believer in a balanced meal. Protein, vegetables and starch. In my house starch is almost always potatoes; not that there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a bit.

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The other night I needed a bed for my rich, saucy coq au vin. Mashed potatoes were ideal, but there were no potatoes (gasp!) I thought polenta would be a lovely accompaniment (thanks to my new-found love) but alas, no polenta either. The recipe suggested using risotto, but guess what, there was no arborio rice. Seriously? I was getting worried at this point when I remembered my impulsive  purchase of Israeli couscous months a while ago. I still wanted  a creamy, thicker, velvety textured side however; why can’t it be turned into risotto?

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If you’ve never had this variety of couscous I’d say it’s the perfect assimilation of starchy goodness. It has the chewiness of pasta, he quick cooking characteristics of regular couscous, the nuttiness of quinoa and when mixed with warm broth and cheese, the creaminess of risotto. Who knew salvaging starch could be so satisfying?

Israeli Couscous Risotto

Serves 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 1/2 cup israeli couscous
  • 2 cups chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt + pepper
  •  1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. In a medium-sized heavy bottom pot add butter and oil until melted. Add onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes
  2. Add couscous and and toast, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add stock, wine, salt + pepper. Bring to a boil + simmer about 10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Once all liquid is absorbed, add cheese, zest, butter and season to taste.
  5. Serve immediately.

**If you’re making this ahead of time, add less liquid as it will soak in and become one large mass if you let it sit. Or alternatively, you could use additional liquid. Either stock, wine or water.

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