Couscous is not a grain, as you might think, but a semolina paste. In fact, couscous is made from the same wheat semolina flour used to make commercial spaghetti.
Couscous originated in the Maghreb, today’s North Africa, and owes its origins to the Berbers, an indigenous people of the region. The Saracen conquest of Europe in the 7th and 8th Centuries is believed to have introduced the dish to the Western world.
Owing to its origins, couscous is often served with lamb or chicken, and may also be sprinkled with raisins or almonds. “Couscous aux sept legumes,” or couscous with seven vegetables, is the most common couscous dish in Morocco. This dish, adapted from a few sources, is modeled after “couscous aux sept legumes.”
Speaking of Moroccan Couscous, the New York Times just named Marrakesh its culinary destination of the year.
WHAT TO GRAB:
2 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 yellow onions, chopped and diced
12 carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium zucchini, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 cups couscous
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
1/3 cup chopped almonds (optional)
Salt and pepper
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place the squash, carrots, zucchini, and yellow onions in a large baking sheet. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. To prevent overcrowding, I like to divide the vegetables in half, and use two baking sheets. Roast the vegetables for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the vegetables midway through.
3. While the vegetables are roasting, bring the broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the butter and cumin, and allow the mixture to seep, off the heat, until the vegetables are done.
4. In a large, heatproof, mixing bowl, add the couscous and vegetables.
5. Bring the broth to a boil, and pour the broth over the couscous. Cover immediately with foil, for 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Add the scallions, raisins and almonds (if desired), and season with salt and pepper.
7. Fluff lightly with a fork, and serve!