Crispy Prosciutto and Parmesan Pearl Couscous

“I didn’t mean to eat the whole thing.”  That might just be your guilty response when you taste this yummy couscous .   And the entire dish took no more than 20 minutes to make, including crisping the prosciutto. 

I love risotto, which is a short grain, starchy rice that is slowly cooked with wine and chicken stock and then loaded with parmesan and butter –  but this Pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) is a great alternative for a quick meal.  The couscous, which is just a tiny pearl shaped pasta, takes 8-10 minutes to cook and then you mix in the other ingredients and you are done.  I served grilled chicken on the side but you could easily add it to the pasta and let it sit in the fridge as a do ahead summer entrée. 

  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat add the olive oil and, when hot but not smoking, add in the prosciutto in an even layer and cook in batches until crispy on each side.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Cooking time should be between 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  2. In a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan bring the stock or water to a boil with 1 tablespoons of the butter.  When at a low boil add in the couscous and partially cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Do not over cook or mixture will by mushy. 
  3. Place warm couscous in a large bowl and immediately add in the parmesan, remaining butter, lemon zest and parsley and gently combine with a wooden spoon or spatula. 
  4. Break up the crispy prosciutto with your hands and gently fold into the mixture to combine.  Garnish with parsley and serve or refrigerate for up to 1 day. Add chicken or shrimp for meal.
1 ½ cups Pearl Couscous (Israeli couscous) *

2 cups chicken stock or water

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 Tablespoon olive oil

6 slices prosciutto

¾ cups finely grated parmesan cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

*Pearl or Israeli couscous is tiny pasta that looks like a small pearl and is not a grain.  Regular couscous is different.

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