Israeli Couscous with Caramelized Butternut Squash

Ingredients

Squash

1 large or two small butternut squash, yielding about 6-7 cups of peeled, 2-inch cubes

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

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2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped

Coarse kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Couscous 

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups Israeli couscous

4 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, optional

Directions:

To prepare squash:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss squash in a bowl with oil, vinegar, rosemary, salt and black pepper.

Lightly oil one large, or two small, baking sheet(s). Add squash to pan(s) in a single layer. Place pan(s) in oven and roast until squash is fork-tender and lightly caramelized, about 40 minutes.

Place pan on a cooling rack and cover loosely with foil paper until needed.

To prepare couscous:

Heat olive oil in 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add couscous and sauté, stirring constantly, until well coated and aromatic, about 2-3 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until just tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Stir in herbs and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer couscous to a large serving bowl. Stir in mascarpone cheese, if using, followed by reserved butternut squash. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, as needed. 

Makes 8 side dish servings.

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