This is a delicious as a side dish or light lunch. Traditional couscous is something I am not all that crazy about. I enjoy it in a tabbouleh, but other then that, no thanks. Israeli couscous is NOTHING like the other kind. It is perfect little round pearls of pasta. It is tender, has a lovely texture- not at all grainy, much unlike how I tend to think of with regular couscous. It has a great mouth-feel, slightly creamy, but not at all mushy. The lemon and artichokes in this recipe really brighten the dish adding just the right amount of acid to really make it pop.
The first day I made this recipe I served it as a warm side dish alongside grilled chicken breasts. It was satisfying and everyone enjoyed it. Especially the baby! He was a huge fan; it was too funny watching him gobble it up. The next day I enjoyed this cold, right out of the fridge and I loved it even more! After having an opportunity for the couscous to soak up all the lemon juice and herbs, the flavors were really enhanced. This would make a great Take-Along recipe for any party being as it stands up to any temperature.
Israeli Couscous with Tomatoes and Artichokes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Israeli (Pearl) Couscous
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1 large tomato, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup fresh basil and oregano, chopped
1/2 teaspoon corse salt
Black pepper, to taste
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the couscous and stir until it turns a deep golden brown and smells toasted.
Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until all the stock has been absorbed, 10 to 14 minutes. Pour into a large bowl and cool.
Meanwhile drain artichokes. Divide the can in half. One half of the can, slice the quartered artichokes in half. Chop the remaining artichokes. Set aside.
Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and add the onions. Sauté until they begin to soften and turn translucent. Remove from heat.
Stir the remaining olive oil into the couscous. Add the oregano and basil, garlic, onion, artichokes, tomatoes and the finely grated zest of one lemon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the juice of the lemon. Delicious eaten right away warm, or place in the refrigerator to chill before serving. If chilled first, fluff with fork before serving.