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Winter Fun

Eat: Ina Garten’s Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts

Ina Garten Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts

Lexie made dinner for us last night. Wait, let me write that again so I can really savor those words: Lexie made dinner for us last night.

Sometimes when a teenager surprises you, it’s with an ear gauge or a dent in the car. But some teenage surprises are really wonderful, like unloading the dishwasher without being asked or discovering a love for cooking.

I truly didn’t see that last one coming, but Lexie’s new love of all things culinary has been a welcome surprise. When we go to the grocery store, she tucks a basket under her arm and sets off purposely to collect the items from her list. And, bless her heart (and ours, as it turns out), everything on that list is healthy, real food that’s helping us all eat better around here.

I have four of Ina Garten’s cookbooks on the shelf―what I love about her is that she takes the most basic of ingredients and uses them to create something really special. I read once that Ina doesn’t have fancy ovens or other equipment in her kitchen because most normal people don’t, and she wants to be sure that when she creates a recipe the rest of us can actually make it, too.

Lexie made the couscous to go with a simple cod dish (cod cooked in melted butter and sprinkled with salt, pepper, dried thyme, rosemary, and oregano). The most amazing thing about this recipe is that even though most people in our family don’t like onions, raw or cooked, they gobble this up. Good old Ina.

Ina Garten’s Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts

from Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?
serves 6 to 8


4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
3 cups chicken stock
1-½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups couscous (12 ounces)
½ cup pine nuts, toasted*
½ cup minced fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a full boil. Stir in the couscous, turn off the heat, cover, and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stir in the pine nuts and parsley, and serve hot.

* To toast pine nuts, place them in a dry saute pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, tossing often, until lightly browned.

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