The Pearl of Pasta
It’s no secret that I love risotto. I mean, what’s not to love about a rich, creamy comfort food that you can virtually make over a hundred different ways and can serve as an appetizer, side dish or main course? But I don’t always love the time that it takes to make a perfect pot of beautiful risotto because let’s face it, I’m a busy gal with two kids and a full plate, besides the one in my kitchen, of course!
My perfect solution, when I want a satisfying dish that’s full of flavor and ready to go fast, is Couscous. Israeli couscous, which looks like tiny white pearls, is made from semolina just like pasta so it has a similar consistency and flavor but cooks in half the time of risotto. You can pretty much substitute it in all your favorite risotto recipes or create some new favorites like this Couscous with Cilantro Pesto and Goat Cheese.
Fresh Couscous Fast
You won’t believe how incredibly easy and fast it is to make couscous. And just like risotto, you can create virtually hundreds of different delicious variations. Couscous is just as yummy with all your favorite gourmet cheeses, fresh or dried herbs, roasted vegetables and cooked meats. Also like risotto, couscous can be served as a first course, side dish or main just by varying the ingredients.
Basic Couscous Re-Defined
I make couscous with whatever combination of fresh and dried ingredients I happen to have on hand while keeping in mind what flavors will best compliment the rest of the meal. Some of my favorites include similar Risotto flavor combinations, but my go-to couscous recipe is this one with Cilantro Pesto and Goat Cheese. There’s just something about the spicy and tangy combination that is simply irresistible and it goes so well with all my favorite spicy dishes.
Suggested Wine Pairings
The perfect wine will greatly depend on your couscous ingredients. A light to medium bodied lively red with bright acidity would compliment just about any flavor combination and help balance the richness of couscous. Look for a Sangiovese, Barbara or Pinot Noir. If you prefer white wines, a crisp one with lively acidity, like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, would also pair well with couscous.