Israeli Couscous Risotto with Shiitakes

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 poblano chile, diced (about 1/4 cup)
2 shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 8.8-oz. box Israeli couscous
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 Tbs. chopped chives, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs. chopped tarragon


Bring broth and 2 cups water to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to low.

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and poblano, and sauté 5 minutes, or until mushrooms have released their juices. Transfer to plate, and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 Tbs. oil in same pan over medium heat. Add shallots, and sauté 2 minutes, or until soft. Add carrot, and sauté 3 minutes more. Add couscous, and cook 3 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring constantly.

Stir 1/4 cup broth mixture into couscous mixture. Reduce heat to medium low. Add 1/4 cup more liquid, and cook until liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding liquid, cooking and stirring 12 minutes, or until couscous is tender and all liquid has been used, adding more water if necessary to finish cooking. Add peas and reserved mushroom mixture, and cook 2 minutes more, or until peas are heated through. Stir in 3 Tbs. chives and tarragon, and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with remaining chives.

Serves 4.