A lot of the women on my cooking board are pregnant or recently gave birth so at some point over the last few months the topic of make-ahead meals came up. You know, the meals people bring to new parents so they don't have to cook while sleep-deprived and learning how to deal with their new reality. One of the meals suggested was Cheesy Pearl Couscous with Roasted Broccoli. We all love pearl couscous but I hadn't been able to find it for a long time, which meant this recipe fell to the back of my to-make pile. Then the day came when the pearl couscous reappeared in the supermarket and this dish was back on my radar.
This is a great make-ahead meal that reheats beautifully. I cooked this during the day on a Tuesday (the night I have my exercise class) and separated it into four portions plus a small bowl for Baby Girl. A few minutes in the microwave and we all had a creamy, cheesy, delicious dinner, albeit eaten and enjoyed at different points in the evening.
The original recipe calls for gouda but I had some leftover havarti and cheddar so I made the swap. It was perfect, but use whatever cheese you like, something that melts well but has a nice, distinct flavor. The creamy couscous with the slightly crispy roasted broccoli and the little nuggets of corn was addictive. Such a great, comforting meal.
Cheesy Pearl Couscous with Roasted Broccoli
As seen in Everyday with Rachael Ray
5 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
8 oz. bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 box (6 oz.) Israeli or pearl couscous
8 ounces frozen corn, thawed
4 scallions, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
8 oz. grated cheddar
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, melt 3 tablespoons butter in the microwave, then stir in the garlic. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle the the garlic butter. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Reserve the skillet, discarding all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the couscous until just al dente, 5 to 6 minutes; drain.
Add the corn and scallions to the reserved skillet and cook over medium-high heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the couscous and chicken stock and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the broccoli, cheese and reserved bacon.