Mark Bittman's Pearl Coucous Gratin with Pesto and Goat Cheese

Increasingly, Americans are becoming  “flexitarians,” a recently invented word that describes both vegetarians who aren’t that strict and meat-eaters who are striving for a more health-conscious, planet-friendly diet….

Lots of vegetables can be substituted for either the asparagus or the mushrooms in this recipe; green beans, peas, zucchini, and artichoke hearts would all work nicely. For a more dressed-up look, serve individual portions in four 6-ounce (or six 4-oz) ramekins. The Pearl Coucous can be cooked up to 2 days ahead, making this dish even more appealing — Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.


A Moroccan grain provides the base for a sophisticated substitute for bread stuffing

Coucous provides the base for a sophisticated substitute for bread stuffing (Photo: GreenRightNow.)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter, plus more for the dish
1 shallot finely chopped
1 c. chopped wild mushrooms, like morels, chanterelles or porcini (or any variety)
8 oz. asparagus, trimmed and peeled if necessary into one inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ c. cream, milk or vegetable stock
½ c. traditional Pesto
1 egg
2 ½ c. cooked pearl couscous
4 oz. goat cheese


  1. Grease a 2-quart soufflé or gratin dish or an oblong baking pan. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Put 2 tablespoons oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot or the butter is melted, addthe shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, les than a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two, then add the asparagus and a sprinkle of salt and pepper; cook until the asparagus is just tender, another 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the cream, pesto and egg together in a small bowl until blended. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. When the asparagus mixture is done, stire in the couscous and heat until warmed through. Turn off the heat, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Spread the asparagus and couscous mixture in the bottom of the prepared dish. Driszzle the cream and pesto mixture over it all. Evenly distribute the goat cheese (small clumps are fine) on top.
  5. Bake until the edges and top are browned and bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on how deep your baking dish is. Serve immediately or let rest for up to an hour and serve at room temperature.


Copyright © 2009 Green Right Now | Distributed by Noofangle Media

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