Friday, November 2, 2012

Brown Butter Sage Couscous

Have you ever had couscous (pronounced coos-coos)?  If not, boy, you don't know what you are missing!  These tiny little grains of Mediterranean pasta, made from semolina, are magical.  They cook in 5 minutes.  Back up!  Did I say 5 minutes?  Why, yes I did!  It's as simple as boiling water, adding the couscous, and covering it for that teeny tiny amount of time.  You can season it with anything, any way you want.  Add some herbs in the water, and the couscous soaks up all the wonderful flavor.  I'm telling you, there is nothing bad about this pasta - it is all kinds of awesome!

So, what can I do to make it butter, I mean better?  Well, wasn't that an interesting slip of the tongue?  It just so happens that is one of the things that I am using to give couscous my own special brand of awesomeness.

Have you been reading very many recipes lately?  If you have, you know that brown butter is all the rage.  You see it popping up everywhere.  Why is that?  Ummmm, it's GOOD!  And, one of the herbs that pairs so well with browned butter is sage.  No, not rubbed sage that you put in stuffing, but fresh sage, or dried sage leaves.  The taste is so different from the ground stuff you get in a little jar.

So, without any further adieu, here's your Cast of Characthers.

1 Cup water
1 Cup couscous
1 Teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
8 Sage leaves, fresh or dried
1/2 Stick unsalted butter
1/2 Teaspoon, each, Lawry's season salt and thyme
2 Teaspoons ground pepper
1/3 Cup grated Pecorion Romano cheese

Bring water to a boil.  Add chicken bouillon granules, 1 sage leaf and couscous.  Cover, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter on medium heat with thyme and remaining sage leaves, crushed.

Cook, stirring frequently, until brown, about 3 - 5 minutes.

Now, be careful because there is a big difference between browned butter and black, burnt butter.  It's easy to go too far, and burn it.  If all else fails, rely on your sense of smell.  When it turns brown and still smells good, stop.

Add butter to couscous along with Lawry's and pepper.

Mix well.  Add Pecorino, and stir to combine, making sure to get any lumps of cheese mixed in.  Turn heat to low, if needed, to melt cheese. 

Serve right away.