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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Israeli Couscous

Israeli Couscous
Israeli Couscous is a small, round semolina pasta that should not be confused with the tiny, yellow North African couscous. Sometimes called pearl couscous or maftoul, it resembles barley, or very small, white peas. Couscous is mainly brought to Israel by Jews immigrated from Morocco. Try this version of Israeli couscous with mint and lemon.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) Israeli or pearl couscous (or orzo)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons very thinly sliced lemon zest (2 to 3 strips)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add couscous, and cook until al dente. Drain, and drizzle with just enough oil to coat. Spread on a baking sheet, and refrigerate 10 minutes.
  • Combine couscous and remaining ingredients. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.
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