“Underrated/Overrated” is a new weekly feature designed to improve your life and keep me writing while American Idol is off the air.
You know what’s underrated? Couscous! I feel like of all the starches in the world, potatoes, rice and traditional pasta get all the love. Couscous combines the flexibility of pasta with the cooking technique of rice into a five-minute side dish that offers many seasoning options. Typically a Middle Eastern dish, couscous is really tiny bead-like pasta that can be flavored however you desire.
Here’s the master tip though: If you go with the boxed couscous, always get the plain variety; you’ll get more for your money and you can flavor the cous however you’d like. There’s nothing wrong with buying the flavored varieties with the fancy spice packs, but why not save some money, control the sodium, and be more adventurous with the spices you already have in your cabinet?
Follow the box instructions, but before you bring the water to a boil add salt, pepper, Lawry’s salt, paprika, garlic, olive oil and top with Parmesan cheese before serving. Or how about substituting some of the water for chicken stock, and stirring in some frozen peas and carrots to the mix? Can’t think of how to make it your own? Steal the ideas from the other spice packs on the shelf and try to replicate the flavors from your own pantry.
The result is a flavorful side that is light, healthy and fun to make. Give some respect to Couscous.