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Couscous “Risotto” with Asparagus

4 Servings

30 minutes

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Traditional risotto is made with starchy medium-grain Italian rice. This “risotto” uses pearl couscous (which actually is a pasta) and a simplified risotto cooking method to produce “grains” with a rich, creamy consistency. The wheaty flavor of pearl couscous (sometimes called Israeli couscous) is a perfect match for grassy, subtly sweet asparagus. When shopping, choose pencil-sized asparagus; larger spears won’t cook through in time and smaller ones will end up too soft.



30 minutes


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Cassie T.
January 22, 2023
Easy and Flavorful
We make this recipe frequently. It’s fast and easy to change up. Great for a weeknight dinner.
Heidi P.
June 5, 2022
Needs Work
I'm a huge fan of Milk Street and a huge fan of risotto! This recipe has all the signs of being delicious, and yet... it wasn't. I found four cups of water to be too much. I would have appreciated some simmering times to know exactly when to add the asparagus. Ultimately, I found the flavor of the asparagus overpowering to the more subtle flavors of the onion and garlic and couscous. If I made it again, I might saute the asparagus separately and add it in right at the end, cook the onion and garlic till golden, and only use 3 1/4 cups water.
Craig L.

This recipe does not match the tv episode it came from.

Lynn C.

Hi Craig -

This is a shorter version from our Cookish cookbook. The recipe from the show can be found here -

The Milk Street Team

Danny D.

that page dose not exist

Lynn C.

Hi Danny -

If you follow the link listed above the instructions for making the couscous with asparagus are in the headnote at the top of the recipe. We just confirmed that the link works. You just need to copy and paste it into your browser. Our comment system doesn't allow for us to add hyperlinks.

The Milk Street Team

Judith G.

Excellent dish! Cooking the stalk pieces slightly ahead of the tips ensured they were done at the same time. As a variation I bloomed saffron in water and added. Delish!
Judi GC Mamaroneck NY