In Progress: Gluten Free Couscous

It’s funny, the foods I’ve missed the most. They’re not what I expected. Though I’ve used Udi’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain bread to make both a grilled cheese and tuna sandwich this week…and they were good. But those cravings were more because I was gifted the bread (a perfect hostess gift), meaning the bread was there, taunting me.

I am very much an out of sight, out of mind eater. I won’t discuss what I’m thinking about the bag of potato chips on the counter. Ob. Scene.

Couscous is a food I truly miss. While ostensibly a pasta dish, it also fills that rice place in a meal. Yes, there are gluten-free couscous options, and, no, I haven’t tried them.

Why? Because I’m a bit crazy. The current gluten-free options are the teeny, tiny couscous*. I like the larger, Israeli style. I’ve never seen the Lebanese, which is probably for the best (here is a brief overview of couscous sizes). If I were making tabbouleh, I’d go tiny (Moroccan), but for most meals, I want something more substantial.

Enter Schar’s Anellina “soup pasta” (info at the Schar website). I bought it on whim at my local grocery store — I am trying to make it clear the GF section and labeling they’ve established is much appreciated. Didn’t have a plan at first, though the pasta shape was intriguing (round with a hole in the middle. And tiny. Very tiny.). Then I thought…couscous.

It works! While I’m still working on a formal recipe, I figure it’s worth sharing where I am right now:

  • Approx 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 cup Anellini Pasta
  • Salt, pepper, paprika
  • Heat the olive oil to shimmering in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the Anellini pasta and seasonings, return to a boil, stir to make sure it’s not sticking together. Lower heat to a very low simmer. Cover, and cook about 15 minutes (check at the ten minute mark). When the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

As a basic couscous recipe, this has worked pretty well. It’s a bit wetter than I’d like when I remove it from the heat, and it’s a bit stickier than I’d like when I serve. This is a timing thing, I’m thinking. The liquid to pasta proportions seem right, so it’s a matter of me, well, making more couscous.

I sacrifice for my art, I truly do.

What makes this really good? The paprika! I go crazy with the really good stuff, and it adds a great smoky, slightly warm (not hot) flavor that you don’t often get.

* — Please correct me if you have better information!

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