The inspiration: Leftover plain couscous
Couscous is a treat in our house. I know it sounds odd, but there is a reason for that. You see, my kids would eat that to the exclusion of everything else if I let them. Couscous (the North African variety) with ketchup (I shudder even to think about it) is their all-time favorite meal. So imagine my surprise when there was leftover couscous from Shabbat. When I went to serve the leftovers on Sunday for lunch, I nearly dropped my spoon as all 3 of my children said they wanted something else instead. I now had about 2 boxes worth of leftover plain couscous that needed a bit of a twist – if the kids wouldn’t eat it, that left DH to eat it, and he can’t stand things that are plain or bland.
The innovation: Adding oven-roasted tomatoes and pine nuts
I had some fresh herbs and tomatoes I needed to use up. I could have just chopped them up raw and mixed it in the couscous, making a cold salad. I decided that I wanted to roast the tomatoes with the herbs, some garlic and a bit of olive oil. With some pine nuts that I had already roasted, I knew this would be a delicious supper.
My interpretation: Couscous with Roasted Tomatoes and Pine nuts
Recipe for Couscous
2 boxes plain couscous (I use the Near East brand)
5 cups stock or water (I use vegetable stock)
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Add olive oil, salt, pepper and vegetable stock into a pot with a fitted lid. Bring to a boil, then add couscous, mix until combined, and cover with lid. Turn off fire and leave sit for at least 5 mins before checking. Remove from fire, spread out on baking sheet to cool.
Recipe for Roasted Pine Nuts
Pine nuts to cover the bottom of a 9×13 baking sheet in a single layer (about 6-8 oz)
Olive oil baking spray
Spray pine nuts with a thin layer of the olive oil baking spray, Bake in oven at 350F for about 15 mins, checking halfway and give the tray a gentle shake to turn nuts. Pine nuts are done when they are slightly brown and fragrant. Care needs to be taken as they burn easily.
Recipe for Roasted Tomatoes
5 Roma (plum) tomatoes, sliced thinly
Large handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely minced
Small handful of fresh tarragon, finely minced
4 sage leaves, finely minced
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
Olive oil (I use extra virgin, but regular will work here)
Small handful of salt (I used Dead Sea Salt, it is what I recommend, but regular works too)
Lay the tomato slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a light coating of salt. Mince the herbs and garlic, mix together, and add just enough olive oil to create a thick paste. Using a pastry brush or your hands, dab the mixture into the center of each tomato slice. Bake at 400F for about 45 minutes or until all the liquid has been cooked out of the tomatoes.
To prepare the the dish
Gather all the slices together and roughly chop to make a thick paste. Add the paste and a few generous handfuls of the roasted pine nuts to the couscous, stir and serve. It is best served hot or warm but also very tasty at room temperature as well.