Couscous with Asparagus, Chervil + White Wine

April 12, 2013
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli or pearl couscous
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 ounces asparagus (3/4 bunch), trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, toasted if desired
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped chervil leaves
  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • beccaoco
  • Farmer Ken
    Farmer Ken
  • Mark Campidonica
    Mark Campidonica
  • BruceC
  • Anne Jennings
    Anne Jennings
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, Soup Club, is a collection of recipes she made for her underground soup club of vegan and grain-free soups she delivers every week to friends throughout Seattle's rainy winter.

8 Reviews

beccaoco January 15, 2015
I was wondering where the garlic came in too? I added mine to the heating broth. I made a few minor changes, and it turned out delicious! I used whole wheat couscous, toasted almonds rather than pistachios, and I quickly sauteed the asparagus before adding to the finished couscous. I served with a tomato salad alongside. The next day, I had a fried egg over top with a hot sauce drizzle. YUM!
Chaimi December 13, 2013
where does the garlic come in?
Ceege May 14, 2013
Hmmmm, sounds delicious. As soon as I get all the ingredients I will try this. I will more than likely use farro for the grain in this dish as I am not always able to find pearl couscous in my neck of the woods. Will let you all know how it turns out.
Farmer K. May 6, 2013
Just made this and it was delicious. I substituted tarragon as my chervil is too small to cut yet.
One note: no where does it say what yo do with the garlic clove.
Mark C. May 2, 2013
I live out in the boonies and our small market often does not have Gourmet ingredients on hand. So I improvise. I always wonder what the recipe would taste like if I used the original ingredients. That said, I put the garlic in with the normal couscous when I browned it along with the chopped pistacios. I used Parmesan cheese instead of whatever Pecorino is. Also, our market has trouble keeping dill in stock, much less chervil. So, I added a half of teaspoon of fennel seed a the beginning of the stock reduction steps. Also I put the asparagus in after the second addition of fluid to make sure it got cooked. Tastes fantastic! I still wonder what the original recipe would have tasted like!
BruceC May 2, 2013
Step five: Before serving, rub the finely chopped garlic over your chest, and chant "Shakti, shakti, shakti" six times in a soft, droning voice.
Mark C. May 2, 2013
It's Asparagus season! Great to have more ideas on how to use the stuff.
Anne J. May 1, 2013
Delish! I made this for my family and it was a big hit!