They say that necessity is the mother of invention. And perhaps the mother of internet searches as well–which is how I ended up making Israeli Couscous with Butternut Squash & Preserved Lemon, from David Lebovitz.
It all started, well…, so long ago I don’t remember. I tasted preserved lemon in a dish and it was magical. Who would have thought that salty lemon would be so transformative! I filed the memory away, determined to eat it again.
Then I looked at the price of these in stores. Yikes!
This year, with a goal of doing lot more preserving, I made a jar myself (recipe soon). Organic lemons at Trader Joe’s are a steal! Mission accomplished, I needed to figure out what to do with them, ‘cause I was clueless.
And so I have to ask… am I the only person who makes (or buys) something when they have no idea what to do with it?
My search yielded this Israeli Couscous with Butternut Squash & Preserved Lemon recipe which had the added benefit of using some of my CSA butternut squash. I served it to Steve & Debra Jo, owners of the CSA Rare Earth Farm, who are two of my favorite people to try new recipes on. When I point out that they grew some of the food they are eating, how much can they complain?
But no one complained, people had seconds, and even took home leftovers. And my couscous hating husband said it was his favorite part of the meal! Hooray!
Now I just need a good idea for my nectarines in brandy…
- 1 1/2-pounds (700 g) butternut squash, peeled and seeded (this was half of my large butternut)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and minced
- 1 3/4 cup (280 g) Israeli couscous, or other very small pasta
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 preserved lemon
- 1/2 cup (60 g) raisins
- 1/4 cup (30 g) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (60 g) chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- Cut squash into 1/4 inch cubes, toss with salt and 1 T olive oil. Roast at 450F until tender, about 15 minutes. Do not overcook since they don't need to caramelize and you want them to hold their shape.
- Heat remaining 2 T olive oil and sautee the chopped onion until tender.
- Boil the couscous and cinnamon stick in salted water until tender about 10 minutes. Drain but don't rinse and discard the cinnamon stick.
- Cut up preserved lemon rind into 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces. Squeeze the juice from the flesh and save.
- Mix cooked squash cubes, drained couscous, sauteed onions, chopped preserved lemon and juice with remaining ingredients.
- Serve warm or cool.
- Most of the world toasts nuts in the oven, 5-10 minutes at 350 but I invariably burn them this way. Instead I put them in a dry skillet on medium heat and begin stirring as soon as I can smell the slightest hint of toasting (don't leave the kitchen, they get to this point quickly). Stir until golden about 1-2 minutes.
- To make this ahead, up to one day in advance, leave out the parsley and toasted pine nuts, and mix them in right before serving. Rewarm if desired.