Couscous with Asparagus and Fresh Mushrooms

This one-dish meal is a lot like a risotto, only it takes less than half the time to prepare—and you don’t have to stand over the stove nursing it along.

4 quarts of water
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 cups couscous
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, diced
1 medium shallot, diced
5 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms—any mix
1/2 pound asparagus
1/2 cup vegetable stock or bouillon
1/2 cup dry vermouth
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Boil water. Add salt and stir in couscous, boiling for 7 minutes or until it is almost ready. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Heat olive oil over high heat, then add 1 chopped garlic clove and l chopped shallot; stir for 20 seconds. Add 3 kinds of mushrooms—for example, white, shiitake, and morel. Stir for 1 minute until the mushrooms acquire a sheen, then add asparagus cut in 1-inch sections.

Stir for 30 seconds; add stock, vermouth, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook on high heat for 2 1/2 minutes.

Add the couscous to the vegetables and cook uncovered another 2 1/2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

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