Serve this dish by itself, with a salad on the side. It may also be served as a first course and should feed 5 to 6 people.
- 2 c. Israeli couscous
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 medium shallot (1/2 oz.), peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 large mushrooms (2 oz.) sliced thinly lengthwise
- 4 to 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms (2 oz.), stems removed and the caps thinly sliced.
- 2 or 3 fresh morel mushrooms (1 oz.), halved lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices.
- 1/2 lb. asparagus (of medium thickness), trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1 inch sections.
- 1/2 c. vegetable stock
- 1/4 c. dry white vermouth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and stir, then add the couscous. Let it boil rapidly for about 7 minutes or until it is almost but not quite ready; it should have a hard core in its very center. Drain the couscous quickly and then rinse it thoroughly under cold running water, turning it over several times. Leave in a sieve or colander.
Put the oil in a large sauté pan or large frying pan (preferably nonstick) and set over high heat. When hot, put in the shallot and garlic. Stir for 20 seconds and put in all the mushrooms. Stir rapidly for about 1 minute or until the mushrooms look satiny. Now put in the asparagus, stir for 30 seconds, then add the stock, vermouth and about 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and keep cooking on high heat for 2 1/2 minutes. Put in the partially cooked couscous and cook, uncovered, for another 2 1/2 minutes on high heat, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat. Check the salt. You will probably need about 1/4 teaspoon more. Add the salt, pepper, cheese, and parsley. Stir to mix and serve immediately.
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