This couscous recipe is a poor man’s risotto — an apt, if even paradoxical descriptor — that focuses on the cozy side of green, spring flavor. Israeli (or “pearl”) couscous is a lentil-sized pasta with an equally diminutive cooking time, so it cooks quickly in the reducing stock. Finished with salty cheese and the delicate licorice-flavored chervil, this recipe brings a bowl of yielding, soft flavors and textures of spring. —Caroline Wright
salted butter, divided
garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups
Israeli or pearl couscous
dry white wine
3 1/2 cups
chicken or vegetable broth
asparagus (3/4 bunch), trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add couscous and cook until partially toasted, 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat broth in a second saucepan until warm.
Add 1 cup broth to couscous and quickly simmer over medium-high heat until the couscous is silky and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, adding a cup at a time and cooking until each addition has nearly evaporated. Before the last addition, add asparagus to remaining hot broth (about 1 1/2 cups). (Stir asparagus into couscous with last cup of broth.)
Once couscous is tender and all the broth has been added, stir in Pecorino, pistachios, chervil and remaining butter. Sprinkle servings with additional Pecorino, pistachios and chervil, if desired. Serve immediately.
Before her diagnosis, Caroline wrote a book on cakes called Cake Magic!. She started developing a birthday cake using her gluten-free mix found in that book. Check out other recipes she’s developing for her new life—and the stories behind them—on her blog, The Wright Recipes. Her next book, Catalan Food, written with chef Daniel Olivella, comes out in early September from Clarkson Potter.