Look no further than renowned culinary author David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen — the cookbook companion to his world-famous blog and a must-have for the dedicated home cook. Learn the classics right the first time, or dive a little deeper to lesser-known French dishes influenced by countless ethnic cuisines that you'll make again and again. First up, a delicious and colorful Israeli couscous flavored with preserved lemons. You can find them at your Middle Eastern grocery.
Israeli couscous are little pearls of pasta, elsewhere called pastina, which means “little pasta,” and when toasted it’s known as fregola sarda. Since they have more substance, I think they hold up a little better to North African-style braised meats than traditional couscous. (Orzo is a good substitute for the Israeli couscous.) To change things around a bit, you can vary the dried fruit or swap in fresh mint or cilantro for the parsley. Another nut, such as toasted hazelnuts or almonds or even pine nuts, could be used in place of the pistachios.
- 1 lemon, preserved
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (any combination of cherries, cranberries, apricots, prunes or raisins), diced
- 1/2 cup unsalted (shelled) pistachios, very coarsely chopped (almost whole)
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups Israeli couscous or another small round pasta
- freshly ground black pepper
- Trim the stem end from the lemon and cut it into quarters.
- Scoop out the pulp and press it through a strainer into a medium-sized bowl to extract the juices; discard the pulp.
- Finely dice the preserved lemon rind and add it to the bowl along with the parsley, butter, dried fruit, pistachios, salt and cinnamon.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Add the couscous and cook according to the package instructions.
- Drain and add it to the bowl of fruits and nuts, stirring until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are well mixed.
- Season with black pepper and serve.
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