I love puttanesca.  Actually, I love anything that has capers in it.  I’m a sucker for those little salty niblets of joy and am constantly looking for excuses to eat them.  Which means cooking them with other things because when your significant other catches you eating them out of the jar with a pickle fork, they look at you like you’re crazy.  And maybe I am.  BUTT who cares when you have capers?  RIGHT?!  AM I RIGHT?!?!

Anyway, let’s get back on track to making magic!

OK one more thing: I love Israeli Couscous too!  It’s like regular couscous, but bigger!  Actually, it is little pasta balls that are very fun to chew and are basically perfect for pasta salads of any type.  If you don’t want to use Israeli couscous because you’re anti Semitic or hate fun or whatever feel free to use orzo, pastina, regular pasta, or even quinoa!  That being said, if you are a gluten free person (because couscous of any persuasion is very wheaty) you could get some gluten free rotini/penne or any small size pasta, DON’T OPEN THE BAG, place a kitchen town over it and hit it with wooden or rubber mallet to break up the pasta into tiny pieces.  You could also just keep it regular size, but that is less fun and fun is what we’re all about here.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 1.5 cups dried Israeli couscous (or any of options mentioned above)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (keep this one separate from the other garlic)
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved – You could also use 1.5 cups fresh tomatoes here, but only if they are in season and really good.
  • 1 medium onion cut into large dice
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup capers, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil (separated)

WHAT YOU DO

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 minced garlic clove over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle.
  2. Add couscous and raise heat to medium high and cook, stirring constantly, until couscous begins to toast – about 1 minute.
  3. Add broth, cover, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until couscous is cooked – about 10 minutes.  Once tender, remove from heat and set aside.  Keep covered.
  4. In a large deep-sided skillet or stock pot, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and stir fry until translucent.
  5. Add garlic, thyme, and crushed red pepper (if using) and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant – about 30 seconds.
  6. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, olives, and capers. Stirring to dissolve tomato paste.
  7. Increase heat to a light boil and add the white wine.
  8. Immediately reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for about 3 minutes, or until the alcohol has evaporated from the wine.
  9. Add the chickpeas and couscous, stir, and allow to heat through.  If the dish is too dry, add some of the reserved tomato juice from the canned tomatoes.
  10. Season with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste.
  11. Serve warm with a side salad for delectable dinner entree or cold for a light summer lunch or snack.

ENJOY EATING BECAUSE EATING IS FUN!!!!!!!

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