Sunday, August 15, 2010

0 Recipe #163: Couscous with Zucchini & Fresh Herbs

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A quick and easy side dish that's perfect for dinner!

Couscous with Zucchini & Fresh Herbs

1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. zucchini, diced into 1/2" cubes
1 tsp. garlic, peeled & finely minced
1/2 c. couscous
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. fresh chervil
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. fresh marjoram leaves, tightly packed
1/2 tsp. fresh oregano leaves, tightly packed
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
freshly shredded Parmigiano-Regiano or Asiago
1/2 Tbsp. pignoli/pine nuts

Directions: Sauté zucchini in olive oil on medium-low heat in a 12-13" sauté pan until crisp & light golden brown around the edges. Then add garlic & cook for 1-2 more minutes, being careful not to burn garlic. Garlic should be cooked until soft, not golden brown. Transfer zucchini & garlic to a plate & set aside. Add 1/2 c. water & turn up heat to high until water reaches a rolling boil. Add couscous & immediately turn off burner. Cover with a lid & steam for 5 minutes, until water has been completely absorbed. While couscous is steaming, toast pignoli nuts in a toaster until light golden brown, if desired. Watch them very carefully, as they can burn very easily. When couscous has finished steaming, gently fluff it with a fork. Add remaining 1/2 c. water & all fresh spices. Turn heat back on to medium-low & cook until oregano & chervil are completely cooked through. (These spices tend to be the strongest, so it's important to adequately cook them.) Remove from heat, season with salt & pepper to taste. Quickly add lemon juice, & stir well to combine. Immediately sprinkle with cheese, to allow it to melt slightly. Garnish with pignoli nuts & additional parsley &/or basil. Serve hot & enjoy!

Yield: Serves 1-2 as a main course, or 3-4 as a side dish.

Variations: Yellow squash, sliced mushrooms &/or black olives would be a nice addition to this recipe. If you are adding these ingredients, be sure to add squash & mushrooms at the same time you cook the zucchini. Olives should be added at the same time as the fresh spices.

To make this recipe vegan, simply omit cheese or substitute with a vegan imitation cheese (like "soy cheese") that approximates the flavor of a sharp, salty cheese like Parmigiano-Regiano or Asiago.

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