Roasted Cauliflower, Israeli couscous, pine nuts and raisins

cauliflowerIt's the holidays and I thought I'd repost one of my favs since:
a. no one reads my archives and
b. I got some free loot!

It's the frigging holidays and time for those excruciating office parties. Occasionally these require one to bring a dish. The depicted dish is perfect. It can be prepared the night before, tastes best at room temperature and it's healthy.

Also, I got a few freebies from OH Nuts!, a nut company in New York. A whole pound of pine nuts from them is about $12. The big difference with these vs. what I usually get (lately, from Mediterranean Market, when we can afford them) is they're really crisp out of the bag. I toast them for this dish, but they're really tasty toasted or not. Frankie now gets them in her lunch!

Thanks OH Nuts!, we're enjoying them! This dish is nice for them too.

Original Post
The wife pointed out this recipe for roasted cauliflower with Israeli couscous, pine nuts and raisins. It's seasoned with salt, pepper, turmeric and the giant couscous is briefly sauteed in olive oil and then cooked in chicken stock. I think it's a new "desperation dinner" for us. The longest step is roasting the cauliflower which takes about 20 minutes at 425F. The recipe also called for fresh parsley or cilantro; all I had to use was dried parsley. I'll fix that next time. Trust me, it's better than it looks. Recipe reprinted in case the link goes dead:

1 small cauliflower
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 cups giant couscous (also called Israeli couscous) or fregola
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup currants
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander or parsley

1. Preheat oven to 170C. Cut cauliflower into small even-sized florets and place in an oven pan. Combine the crushed garlic with 2 tablespoons olive oil, pour garlic oil over the cauliflower and toss well to coat. Roast for 30 minutes or until the florets turn golden brown, stirring occasionally to allow for even cooking. Remove to cool.

2. At the same time, heat a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the onion and cook over a moderate heat for 5-10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Stir in the turmeric and giant couscous and cook for 1 minute, stirring continually.

3. Add stock and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly until the grains are tender to the bite and all the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Stir through the roast cauliflower, pine nuts, currants and coriander or parsley and serve.
Click the photo for a larger view.

I prepared this with the other half of the cauliflower several days later. The only change I did was cook the giant couscous with boiling stock (like risotto). Still, the couscous had a fairly tough/al dente feel to it, identical to cooking it with cold stock. However, when the leftovers were heated up, I was told the couscous was much more tender.

Also, I was told by the proprietor of the market where I bought the Israeli Couscous, I should soak it at least 15 minutes prior to cooking, it would make for a more tender cooked pasta. I think I'll do the soaking next time in hopes of getting the texture of the couscous more tender and uniform. Without soaking, it has a slightly tougher interior than exterior.


Genevieve said...

i believe you. the ingredients in that couscous sound awesome. and kudos for keeping it simple.

Dave said...

Hey Genevieve,
It is a great dish. And, with a wildly, crazy 3 year old, I have to keep it simple. BTW, I grew up in Revere! I look forward to visiting your site.

Zach said...

This dish has become a regular fixture at our house. Thanks Dave!

Zach said...

I'm glad you re-posted this Dave. Anybody reading this should give this a try!

Dave said...

Thanks Zach, the blog's fun to remind us of old favorites.

Betty said...

That looks great!

Mike -- Chicago, IL. said...

I just tried this tonight. Modified it a fair bit (of course) but stayed exact on the cauliflower roasting. The ironic thing is that it didn't brown even after turning up he heat and leaving it in twice as long. But, everything still tasted great in the end.

I think the ol' grill thermometer is going in the oven tomorrow to see what's going on.

Mike -- Chicago, IL. said...

I made this again with fantastic results. Now I see what went wrong with the roasting.

Dave, at the top it says "roast at 425F" but while actually cooking my eye caught step#1 which says "preheat to 170C" (which is more like 340F). Except I roasted at 170F -- doh! Our oven doesn't have a C/F temp scale button.