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SUMMER COUSCOUS SALAD WITH CRUNCHY VEGETABLES

Excerpt from Healthy Pasta: The Sexy, Skinny, and Smart Way to Eat Your Favourite Food by Joseph

Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali
To make this dish heartier, add about three ounces of cooked shrimp or grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast per person. It adds only 80 to 100 calories per serving and makes this a full meal. Couscous is actually a type of pasta—made with just semolina flour and water.

Serves 6
3 cups             low-sodium chicken broth 750 mL
7 TBsp            extra-virgin olive oil 105 mL
1 1/2 cups     whole wheat couscous 375 mL
1 medium       red bell pepper, diced (1 cup) 250 mL
1 medium       carrot, diced (1 cup) 250 mL
2   celery stalks, diced (1 cup) 250 mL
1 cup   chopped scallions 250 mL
1 small  fennel bulb, cored andfinely chopped  (1 1/2 cups), fronds reserved 375 mL
1 cup   large pitted green olives,      slivered 250 mL
1/2 cup   fresh Italian parsley leaves,  chopped 125 mL
1/2 cup   fresh basil leaves, chopped 125 mL
zest and juice of 2 lemons    (1/4 cup juice) 60 mL

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a simmer. Add the couscous, COVER and remove from the heat. Let sit, covered, for 5 minutes then FLUFF well with a fork. SCRAPE onto a sheet pan to cool.

In a serving bowl COMBINE the cooled couscous, bell pepper, carrot, celery, scallions, chopped fennel and olives. DRIZZLE with the lemon juice and the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil and add the lemon zest. TOSS well to coat all of the couscous with the dressing. SEASON with salt and pepper and add the parsley and basil. CHOP 1/2 cup reserved fennel fronds and add that as well. Toss one more time and serve. The salad can also be made ahead and refrigerated, but let come to room temperature and toss again before serving.

Wine to Match: Like most starches, whole grains usually take a back seat when pairing a dish with wine. The dominant flavour isn’t likely going to be the grains, but the meat, herbs or dressing. Any fresh and lively white is going to work here, but we’re thinking this is a perfect excuse to crack open a characterful dry white from Vinho Verde, such as the benchmark Quinta de Soalheiro Alvarinho if you can find it, or the more readily available Sogrape Vinhos 2013 Morgadio da Torre Alvarinho Portugal $17.95 (960955). The bright, citrussy and peachy flavours make them ideal summer sippers with or without food.



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