Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Couscous Overboard

I’m not gonna lie.
This shrimp dish is not exactly my fav. Shrimp Scampi on Couscous is way yummy, but the next time I want Shrimp Scampi, I’m going to stick with the classic.

The dish combines shrimp with a savory tomato sauce. So, if you prefer a red sauce over a white sauce with your seafood, you should totally give this recipe a whirl.

The recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis’ cookbook, “Everyday Italian.”

My big beef with the recipe is the specifications called for making the couscous.

If you don’t know what couscous is, here’s a brief explanation: Couscous is tiny pasta made of semolina flour. To cook it, you simply bring a liquid to a boil; pour the dry couscous in the pot; stir; put a lid on it: let it sit for five minutes. You can play around with the flavors of the couscous by what you put in the broth. You can also add a variety of fresh ingredients to your cooked couscous such as herbs, zest, juice, veggies, nuts, dried fruits and cheese.

I love me some couscous. It’s quick and easy and delish.

So back to my issue with the recipe: The recipe claims to produce four main course servings while calling for 2 cups of plain couscous. The thing is 2 cups of uncooked couscous yields about 8 servings. Seriously. I had couscous out the wazoo, because you see, dear readers, even though my brain was saying, “This recipe is going to make TONS of couscous,” my hands still measured out 2 cups and poured them into the pan. Brilliant, Susan.

Anyways, despite the couscous measurement insanity, me and The Husband enjoyed the dish, but we concluded that good old Shrimp Scampi over spaghettini or capellini is our tried and true fav.

When I make it again, I will be sure to cut the couscous recipe right in half.

Scampi on Couscous
By Giada De Laurentiis
From "Everyday Italian"

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed, plus 2 garlic cloves minced
2 (8 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes in their juice
1 (8ounce) bottle clam juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
2 cups plain couscous
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
In a large pot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. When almost smoking, add onion, carrot and 1 clove smashed garlic and saute until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, clam juice and white wine. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Carefully pour tomato mixture in the bowl of a food processor and puree. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if needed - you want to end up with a broth. Check for seasoning.

Return broth to the pot. Add 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add 2 cups couscous. Cover pot and remove from heat. Let rest for 10 minutes, allowing the couscous to absorb all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, add the remaining 1/4 cup oil and the 2 cloves of minced garlic. Heat the oil, making sure not to burn the garlic. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp and stirring occasionally, cook the shrimp until they start to turn pink, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will become tough. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, red pepper and chopped parsley. Check for seasoning.

To serve, mound the couscous in the center of a platter and top with the shrimp.

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