What happens when you combine the cuisines of two rich Mediterranean culinary traditions? Nothing less than a fusion food delicacy. These are the types of dishes that I enjoy making for they journey me through time and space in a way that even travel can’t compete with. This soul-warming maftoul, also known as Palestinian couscous or hand-rolled whole wheat pasta is combined with a delicious Sicilian-style sun-dried tomato pesto and toasted pine nuts to provide you with a most essential winter comfort food. Just when you thought that Mediterranean cuisine couldn’t get any better…
You can find maftoul in your local Middle-Eastern market. The versatility of this grain will make it a new favorite. It cooks just like rice or pasta, and is always ready in about 10 minutes. Need I say more?
INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 4
2 cups (310 gr.) maftoul (Palestinian couscous), rinsed
1 packed cup (25 gr.) fresh basil
1 packed cup (25 gr.) fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves
8 sun-dried tomatoes (25 gr.), chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml.) olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (25 gr.) pine nuts, toasted
grated parmesan, for garnish, optional
1. Blitz the basil, parsley, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, and pine nuts in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add salt if needed. Set aside.
2. Simmer the maftoul in a pot of 4 1/3 cups (1020 ml) boiling water seasoned with 1 teaspoon of salt for ten minutes while stirring occasionally. It should be al-dente, cooked but still firm while retaining its shape.
3. Stir the pesto mixture into the hot maftoul until well combined. Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with toasted pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan, and parsley. Serve as a side dish or as a meal. Sahtain and Buon Appetito!