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Israeli Couscous with Roasted Tomato Dressing

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Tomato Dressing by The Culinary ChaseCouscous is a versatile pasta made of tiny grains of dough that are steamed. Couscous originated in Morocco and northern Algeria, and is a staple throughout North Africa. It can be served as a breakfast cereal, dressed as a salad, and sweetened for a dessert. It’s most common use is as a side in a stew or savory sauce (much like the way rice is served in other cultures). Israeli couscous is larger than the regular couscous and it has a chewy texture with a slight nutty flavor. The first time I used couscous, it was with roast chicken…so delicious!  If you like this recipe, then try swordfish involtini with couscous – a dinner table show stopper and it’s relatively easy to make!

Serves 6
adapted by Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 lbs. grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 to 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

Couscous:
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 1/4 cups Israeli (pearl) couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped

roasted tomates by The Culinary ChasePreheat oven to 300°F. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on a cookie sheet. Add garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan. Peel garlic and puree with oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth.

To make the couscous, bring broth to a boil in a saucepan and stir in couscous. Lower heat to a simmer, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork to make sure no clumping takes place. Transfer couscous to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, dressing, roasted tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Couscous needs enhancing as it’s bland on its own. The roasted tomato dressing combined with the herbs takes a humble staple and makes it shine.  Enjoy!

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