This colorful casserole brims with the flavors of the Mediterranean -- olives, leeks, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and roasted red peppers. Although it's mixed with bits of flavorful salami or turkey, you can omit these ingredients to make an entirely vegetarian dish. Serve this wholesome grain with crusty bread and a tossed salad.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek (white part only), very thinly sliced
½ cup finely chopped roasted red pepper or pimiento
½ cup diced salami or turkey
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10-ounce box instant couscous
½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered, or 1 small ripe tomato, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup Nicoise or good-quality black olives, pitted
1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the leek and sauté 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent browning. Add the red pepper, salami or turkey, thyme, and salt and pepper, and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir in the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Using a fork, fluff up the couscous to prevent clumping.
4. Add the cooked couscous to the casserole and gently stir in the tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the casserole. (The recipe can be made up to a day ahead of time up to this point. Keep covered and refrigerate until ready to use.)
5. Bake casserole for 15 to 17 minutes, or until hot throughout.