I’ve been making an effort lately to focus more on side dishes. I always put a lot of thought into them when we’re having guests over, but that doesn’t always happen when I’m making mine and Eric’s meal plan for the week. We have a few standard sides that we make frequently, and I thought it was time to change it up a bit. As luck would have it, I just picked up Ina Garten’s new book How Easy is That? and was inspired to make this recipe the day after seeing it.
This couscous, as you can tell from the name of the book, is incredibly easy to make. It’s ready in about 20 minutes, and 10 of those are just letting the couscous steam. This side is simple but elegant and would go well with nearly any entrée. The thing that I especially liked about this couscous was its texture. I’ve had couscous before that seemed kind of flat, but this one gets added texture from the onions and crunch from the toasted pine nuts. Those two things, in combination with the vibrant parsley and fluffy couscous, make for one delicious side dish. The only change I made was to squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the couscous once it finished cooking. We were having lemon chicken, and I thought it was a good way to tie it all together. I liked the freshness the lemon juice added to the couscous, but it will taste great either way.
Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup couscous
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft but not browned. Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous and immediately turn off the heat. Cover the saucepan and allow the couscous to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the pine nuts, parsley and lemon juice (if using). Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
Adapted from How Easy is That? by Ina Garten