Creamy Israeli Couscous with Porcini and Shitake Mushrooms

By • April 11, 2011 • 8 Comments



Author Notes: Until I met my Polish husband, mushrooms were, to me, either a veggie burger substitute or fun obstacle to eat around in my salad. Little did I know that Eastern Europeans are (apparently) Mushroom People, and that the world of fungi is to be a part of my life forever more. It could be worse.

Mushroom flavor permeates every level of this dish - the couscous is cooked in porcini soaking liquid with dried mushrooms while a cream sauce reduces with more porcini flavor. After the sauce and pasta are swirled together, a shower of sauteed shitakes add more of that fungalicious essence, as well as some welcome crunch.
MeghanVK

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, or a mix of dried wild mushrooms
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bouillon cube (or 1 tsp of my favorite, Better than Bouillon)
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • olive oil, as needed
  • butter, as needed
  • salt and pepper, as needed
  • 1/4-1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, wiped clean, ends lightly trimmed
  1. Soak 1 cup of the dried mushrooms in hot water for ten minutes. Once the time is up, remove and chop the mushrooms; set aside. Strain the soaking liquid and reserve.
  2. While the mushrooms soak, set a saucepan over medium heat and add a ~tablespoon of oil and teaspoon of butter (enough fat to coat the bottom). Once the butter has stopped foaming, add the garlic and onion, cooking until just softened. Pour in the Israeli couscous and stir, toasting the little couscous nubbins until they are a lovely golden brown. Add 1 1/4 cups of the mushroom soaking liquid with the bouillon and chopped mushrooms. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer on low for ten minutes.
  3. In a separate saute pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil with yet another dab of butter. When it is very hot, add the shitake mushrooms and allow to brown and caramelize, shaking the pan occasionally. Due to their shape, they will not saute evenly, but that's okay: once most of the mushrooms have some nice crunchy spots and nothing looks raw, take them off the heat, sprinkle with salt, and set aside.
  4. In the same saute pan, cook the remaining 1/4 cup of mushroom liquid over medium-high heat with the cream. Finely chop - pulverize, really - the remaining dried mushrooms and add to the sauce. Reduce until the liquid easily coats the back of a spoon. It should be quite thick. Taste for salt and correct seasoning.
  5. Swirl the sauce into the couscous. Spoon into bowls and top with the sauteed shitakes. Lily-gilders may wish to sprinkle some truffle salt on top.

Tags: serves a crowd

Comments (8) Questions (0)

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about 3 years ago Plain_Cheesecake

Just made this last night and used 2/3 C couscous (or enough for 2 servings as per the label). I added a dash of worcestershire sauce. The mushrooms were just so hearty, I had to! Topped with some fresh parsley this was a great dinner.

Welovephotobooths_1_1042624

about 3 years ago MeghanVK

So glad you liked it!

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over 3 years ago micook

OK, I could be going blind, but I don't see couscous listed in the ingredients . . .

Welovephotobooths_1_1042624

over 3 years ago MeghanVK

Oh, my goodness, you're right. So sorry! 1 cup of Israeli couscous. I'll go fix that now...

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Mmmm. Me too. Dog food over Israeli couscous would be wonderful, but your version looks heavenly.

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over 1 year ago mestopheles

Dog Food? Lovely!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

This sounds unbelievable! Love the idea of using couscous as the grain with mushrooms.

Welovephotobooths_1_1042624

over 3 years ago MeghanVK

Thanks! Part of my aim here was to create an alternative to risotto, so I'm glad you like the idea of the couscous.