Weeknight Cooking

Dinner Tonight: Summertime, Amanda-Style

August 20, 2012

Amanda's delicate touch pervades this dinner, as it pervades this site. She just can't stop herself from making little refinements here and there, like an herb-infused oil drizzle that adds just the right glint of charm to her take on cream of tomato soup. Lightly dressed and zucchini-dotted, her couscous is a crowd-pleasing, hassle-free side. Together, they make a rather splendid summertime couple; deeply flavored and light all at once, the meal is a study in Amanda's uniquely restrained and oh-so-elegant touch. And, as always, a magnificient meal on the table in about an hour! 

The Menu

Click through on the recipe titles or images below to see (and save and print) the full recipes, but we've provided your grocery list and game plan too!

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Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup by amanda


Couscous Salad with Zucchini and Ricotta Salata by amanda


The Grocery List (for 4)

8 medium beefsteak tomatoes, cored and quartered
1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata
1 sprig rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
6 tablespoons heavy cream
4 thick slices country bread, toasted and brushed with olive oil, for serving
4 cups loosely-packed, cooked couscous
1 1/2 cup minced zucchini
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons chopped basil

We assume you have a lemon, black pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic lurking somewhere in your kitchen. If we're wrong, you'll need to add them to the list!

The Plan

1. This is the only time-consuming part of dinner: roasting the tomatoes. But it's super easy, and so worth it. Getting the tomatoes in the oven is definitely priority #1 -- they'll take about an hour.

2. While they roast away, cook the couscous per the instructions on the package (it should only take 15-20 minutes). 

3. Prepare the herb-infused oil and set aside.

4. Chop all the fresh herbs, and the zucchini for the salad. Zest, then juice the lemon. 

5. Dress and toss the couscous. Set aside to rest and get really delicious.

6. Pull the tomatoes out of the oven, enjoy a few lovely deep whiffs, and mash up that soup!

7. Serve. Enjoy.


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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Miranda Rake

Written by: Miranda Rake

Miranda is a writer and editor in Portland, OR. She has a sweet, curious toddler, and is passionate about all of the usual things like farmers markets, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and swimming in the sea. She hates leaf blowers and writing in the third person. Until recently, she owned and operated a small jam company, as is typical for a Portland-based millennial like herself.

1 Comment

jenniebites August 26, 2012
Just made this summer's round of that Israeli couscous salad. If possible, it's better than I remembered.