The Clever Key to Couscous: White Wine

Rachel Tepper Paley
May 9, 2014

Photo credit: Food52

Plumping up your couscous with plain old water is fine and dandy, but for an extra punch of flavor, white wine is your secret weapon.

Think about it: You use white wine to deglaze your pans and jazz up sauces. That’s because it adds a deeper level of complexity to dishes, including couscous.

We’re digging this Food52 recipe, which calls for pearl-shaped Israeli couscous and fresh asparagus. A dusting of chervil (also known as French parsley) adds a bright, herbaceous note, while chopped pistachios and finely grated Pecorino cheese lend crunch and saltiness.

You’ll never cook couscous the same again.

Couscous with Asparagus, Chervil and White Wine
from Food52

4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup Israeli or pearl couscous
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
12 ounces asparagus (3/4 bunch), trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino
1/2 cup chopped pistachios, toasted if desired
1/4 cup roughly chopped chervil leaves

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add couscous and cook until partially toasted, 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat broth in a second saucepan until warm.

Add 1 cup broth to couscous and quickly simmer over medium-high heat until the couscous is silky and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, adding a cup at a time and cooking until each addition has nearly evaporated. Before the last addition, add asparagus to remaining hot broth (about 1 1/2 cups). (Stir asparagus into couscous with last cup of broth.)

Once couscous is tender and all the broth has been added, stir in Pecorino, pistachios, chervil and remaining butter. Sprinkle servings with additional Pecorino, pistachios and chervil, if desired. Serve immediately.