26 November 2011

Shrimp Scampi on Couscous

This year I've had so much to give thanks for.  Opportunities for learning new languages, traveling to Taiwan and South Korea this summer, spending time with dear friends, and experiencing personal growth.  This has been a good year, and I was thrilled to be able to celebrate and give thanks with family and friends this past weekend.  I've especially enjoyed getting to spend some time with my brother, who was home from grad school for the holiday, sharing inside jokes and getting excited together about the things we both get so excited about.

One of the things that always reminds me of my brother is this dish, scampi on couscous.  I've made it for him over the years, and he loves it so much that he's even learned to make it for himself away at grad school now.  I couldn't contain my excitement and pride when I found out he had made it on his own!

An absolute family favorite in my home, this shrimp scampi on couscous is a light yet satisfying meal.  Though we certainly enjoy this meal year-round, I think the clean flavors and textures of the dish, plus the ease of preparation and the figure-friendly calorie count, make this a dream of a meal for the post-Thanksgiving exhaustion that might be beleaguering some cooks (and eaters) right about now.

Mounds of fluffy couscous cooked in tomato broth are topped with spicy, garlicky scampi and finished with bright notes from lemon juice and parsley.  The tomato broth can be made (and frozen) weeks or days in advance, and the couscous and scampi cooks up in just a few minutes.  This is ideal not just for days when you feel too tired to cook much, but also for effortless entertaining.

Consider making this a part of one of your holiday menus, either as a simple main course, serving it up with some crusty bread and a green salad, or as a first course as a part of a more elaborate meal!

Scampi on Couscous
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
Makes 4 Servings

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato purée or crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup water
sea salt, to taste
2 cups plain couscous
1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 garlic cloves minced
1 lemon, juiced
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When oil is fragrant, add onion, carrot and 2 cloves smashed garlic and saute until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato purée, chicken broth, and white wine. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes, uncovered.

Remove sauce from heat and blend until smooth with an immersion stick blender. Check for seasoning, adding salt to taste.

Stir in 1 cup of water to the sauce and bring to a boil. Remove pot from heat and add 2 cups couscous. Cover pot and let rest for 10 minutes, allowing the couscous to absorb all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper.

In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil with the red pepper. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp and the 2 cloves of minced garlic. Stirring occasionally, cook the shrimp until they start to turn pink, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will become tough. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Check for seasoning.

To serve, mound the couscous in the center of a platter and top with the shrimp. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve with lemon wedges.


Susan Lindquist said...

Oh! This looks so very good! My birthday is coming up ... and this is just the meal to have (since I'll be doing the cooking! Ha!) ... so special and simple but really very elegant too!

erica said...

Oh perfect! Happy-early-birthday, Susan! By the way, I love your Thanksgiving feast photos. Looks like it was yummy! :)

Anonymous said...

Freshly cooked shrimps you have there. I'm not a big fan of this type of cous cous... But you gotta try when it looks this good...

Anonymous said...

What do you do if you don't have a immersion stick blender?

erica said...

Good question! If you don't have an immersion stick blender, let the sauce cool first and then transfer it to a regular blender. Puree, and then return the sauce back to the pot and continue with the recipe.

If you have a chance to get an immersion stick blender, though, you should definitely go for it! My stick blender is one of my favorite appliances...making smoothies, soups, and sauces is so much easier without the hassle of cleaning all the parts of a regular blender!

Peggy said...

This definitely looks outstanding! Simple and easy =)

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