Couscous with Toasted Almonds and Butternut Squash

I spotted this recipe at the Williams-Sonoma site and it seemed like a tasty way to cook couscous for my family. The original recipe includes chopped mint and feta cheese, which I omitted.  Feta cheese and mint are not kid friendly, and also… I didn’t have any.  I also substituted butternut squash for acorn squash.

According to the recipe, you should roast the squash for 1 hour, which I did.  If you want to try this method, go ahead and do it. My friend Edith who also tried this recipe,  really likes the taste of roasted squash, but my husband and I prefer cooking it in water.  It is not only faster, but the result is a more tender and buttery texture, I find that roasting it makes it too dry for my taste.   Next time, I will half cook it in water first, then rub it with oil and spices and let it roast until it is tender. Maybe that way I can get the best of the two methods?

The most important thing I learned from this recipe is that you can peel a butternut squash with a potato peeler!  I never really thought about how I would go about peeling one of these babies, but a peeler certainly didn’t come to mind.  I looked it up, tried it out and I can confirm that Yes! it works!

 

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

 Couscous with Toasted Almonds and Butternut Squash

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
Serves 8

Ingredients:
3/4 cup almonds
1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for
drizzling
2 cups couscous
cilantro, for garnish

Procedure:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, stirring once or twice, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Leave the oven on.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sage, 1 tsp. of the salt, the cinnamon, chili powder and pepper and stir well.
  4. Peel the butternut squash. Cut lengthwise and slice into slices about 1 inch thick and discard the seeds. Rub the cut sides with the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Arrange the rings on a baking sheet and rub both sides with the sage mixture. Roast until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Cut each slice into cubes.
  5. Cook couscous according to the package’s instructions.
  6. Transfer the couscous to a warmed platter. Drizzle with a little olive oil and gently fluff, separating the grains with a fork. Season with the remaining 1 tsp. salt, then taste and adjust the seasonings.
  7. To serve, sprinkle the couscous with almonds.  Turn gently to distribute the ingredients and then fold in the squash. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature.

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

Couscous with Almonds and Butternut Squash

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