We had a LOT of rain last weekend. The result was Jim cooking up a storm. One of the dishes he made was a pesto Parmesan couscous. Sooo good!
Jim discovered couscous on one of his business trips to France. It’s really big there, but as a side dish. One day, we stop in Eatsy’s, a grocery store up in Houston. They had this dish there. We loved it and replicated it at home. I hope you like this!
Couscous is a form of pasta that originated in North Africa. It is wheat pasta rolled into beads about 0.5 mm in diameter, and dried like spaghetti, etc. Its shelf life dried is years long in the right conditions.
It cooks into fluffy, separate granules.
Traditionally, dry couscous was steamed in a special cooker. However, most couscous sold in the U.S. is instant, as we will see in this recipe.
Couscous is extremely versatile. Traditionally it was served as a bed for stews called tagines. You can also add various ingredients such as raw vegetables, nuts, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, and flavored sauces.
Preparation time: about 20 minutes. Start at least an hour and a half before you plan to serve it.
Pesto Parmesan Couscous
1 cup dry couscous1/2 cup pesto1/2 cup pine nut2–3 T raisins or currants2 T grated Parmesan2 T olive oil1 T balsamic or red wine vinegar
- In a 2-quart glass or ceramic bowl, heat 1 cup water to boiling in the microwave, or pour in one cup of boiling water from a kettle.
- Add 1 cup couscous and cover with plastic wrap to hold in the heat. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile toast the pine nuts under a broiler. Pine nuts toast quickly, in 2–3 minutes. Watch them with no distractions. Toss them at least once.
- Gently stir the couscous with a fork. You’re not whipping cream here. Separate the granules until they are loose, like well-prepared long grain rice.
- Stir in the pesto, pine nuts, raisins, and Parmesan until evenly distributed.
- Stir in the olive oil and vinegar.
- Let sit for an hour or more. Beyond two hours, refrigerate.
You can serve on a bed of lettuce with a sliced tomato, olives, or whatever you fancy. Served this way, this dish is more than enough for two people. It’s also great for potlucks.
Note: You can adjust any of the ingredients to taste, omit anything except the oil and vinegar, and add whatever you like. Just be careful with juicy vegetables like tomatoes, which can make the dish soupy.