For Fans of Roasted Butternut Squash
If you are a fan of butternut squash but are tired of only enjoying it in soups and ravioli, take heart. Try this dish that pairs the warm, nutty sweetness of butternut squash with toasted Israeli couscous and sweet-tart dried cranberries.
Regular Couscous is made from semolina that is steamed and dried. Most of us are most familiar with Instant couscous that is pre-steamed and dried so all we have to do is add boiling water to it and watch it swell up in 5 minutes.
Israeli Couscous, also called Ptitum was created in Israel at the time David Ben-Gurion became the first prime minister. This was a time when when rice was scarce so the prime minister asked the Osem food company to come up with a hard wheat flour based substitute to rice and they came up with Israeli couscous.
Bigger than traditional North African couscous, it was originally shaped like rice but that changed to look like the small balls we are now more familiar.
Did you know Israeli couscous is considered children's food in Israel.
Here in the United States, Israeli couscous is being used by professional chef is some of the hottest restaurant. I have to admit it is new to me but now that I've found it, I use it all the time AND my kids love it.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Israeli Couscous Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into ½" dice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter more if necessary
- 1 tablespoon olive oil more if necessary
- 1 large sweet onion diced
- 1 ¾ cups Israeli couscous
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock low sodium canned is fine
- ⅔ cup orange juice
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 cup dried cranberries coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- Toss the squash with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
- Place on a foil-covered roasting pan and roast at 425°F until the squash is cooked through and has caramelized on the outside, tossing gently every few minutes. This should take about 20 minutes or so. Set aside and keep warm.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil and the butter. Add the couscous and cook for three or four minutes, stirring frequently, until at least some of the couscous takes on a golden brown color.
- Add the onion and a bit more salt and pepper and continue to cook until the onion has softened. You may need to add a bit more oil and/or butter. If you do not want to add any more fat, feel free to add just a bit of water to keep the couscous and onion from sticking.
- In a pan or in the microwave, bring the stock and the orange juice to a boil.
- Add the stock mixture all at once. Add the poultry seasoning. Bring everything up to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook until the couscous has absorbed almost all of the stock. Stir in the cranberries, the reserved squash and the rosemary.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
Winner! Wonderful balance of sweet and savory. Even the kids liked it.
G. Stephen Jones