Couscous with Touches of Orange, Dill, and Pistachio
Couscous is actually a
tiny pasta (sometimes referred to as "North African pasta") made
from semolina wheat. Cooking couscous by traditional methods
requires several steaming processes to attain a light and fluffy
result. Recently, quick-cooking varieties that require only a brief
soaking in hot water have become available.
whole-wheat type invariably becomes mush, and I wouldn't recommend
it for anything other than a good, hot breakfast cereal. But the
light-colored quick kind is quite good, and if handled correctly
can make an ethereal pilaf, accessible to the busy, working cook.
For more information about couscous (including great cultural
information, anecdotes, and details/directions on the authentic,
traditional way to cook it), I highly recommend the definitive work
by Paula Wolfert, Couscous and Other Good Food from
2 cups quick-cooking couscous (not
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Salt to taste
1 medium-sized juice orange
3 to 4 tablespoons finely minced fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 cup minced, toasted pistachio nuts
- Place the couscous in a medium-sized bowl. Pour in the boiling
water, and cover the bowl with a plate. Let stand for 15 to 20
minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Fluff thoroughly with a
fork and add salt to taste.
- Grate the zest from the orange and then squeeze out all the
juice. Add both the zest and juice to the couscous, along with the
dill. Mix well, making sure there are no clumps of couscous left on
the bottom of the bowl. Cover tightly, and set aside until serving
- Without removing the cover, heat just before serving in a
microwave or a regular oven at 325°F. Serve hot, sprinkled
lightly with pistachios.