Israeli Couscous and Tomato Salad with Arugula Pesto
My fiancé and I recently moved to a new part of town which was all around a very exciting thing for us EXCEPT we moved away from some of our favorite restaurants. This dish was inspired by a restaurant we used to go to called, Better Byrd. If you live in the St Pete area, definitely go and try it. They are best known for their GF chicken which you can get with all different types bowls or in the form of sandwiches.
One of the options they have as a base when you order a bowl there is their "pearl couscous," otherwise known as Israeli Couscous. Feeling inspired, I decided to make this dish, originally found here. This recipe is served cold like a pasta salad and can be served as a side with pretty much anything. I especially like it as a summer dish because it tastes fresh with arugula and tomatoes and makes a very decent portion, great for picnics and pot lucks. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!
6 cups packed arugula
2 cups israeli couscous
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
1 pint size container cherry tomatoes, halved
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add 6 cups of arugula and blanch for 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the arugula to a colander. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, then drain.
Add the couscous to the boiling water and cook over moderately high heat, stir occasionally until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the couscous and spread it out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss to prevent clumping. Let the couscous cool to room temperature.
In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, tossing, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
Squeeze the excess water from the arugula and coarsely chop it. Transfer the arugula to a food processor (or high speed blender, I used the Vitamix). Add the pine nuts, garlic, cheese and the 1/2 cup of olive oil and process until the pine nuts are finely chopped. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
Transfer the couscous to a large serving bowl and stir in the pesto. Gently fold in the tomatoes.