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Categories: Mains, Sides, Vegetarian

Kushary (rice, lentils and pasta with tomatoes)

Kushary (rice, lentils and pasta with tomatoes)
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Susan Feniger reaches out for the white pepper, but her hand hovers, fingers twitching -- which one is it? Feniger certainly knows what pepper looks like. But right now, the 5-foot-square island in the center of her home kitchen is ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes | Makes 3 cups each kushary and sauce
Note: While the tomatoes are cooking, start preparing the kushary. Clarified butter can be found at select gourmet markets. Harissa can be found at Middle Eastern groceries.

Roasted tomato sauce

  • 2 white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 1/4 pounds tomatoes (about 12 plum), cored and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt

Step 1In a medium, heavy-bottom pot, cook the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until they start to turn a deep brown, about 45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 2Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook just until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 3Add the tomatoes and water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the tomatoes soften completely and begin to break apart, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Step 4Puree the tomato mixture in a blender until smooth. (Be careful not to fill the blender more than 1/3 of the way or steam may force the liquid to fly out of the blender. And always cover the lid with a towel when blending hot liquids to prevent splashes and spills.)

Step 5Season to taste with salt and keep in a warm place until ready to serve.

Kushary and assembly

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup straight cut macaroni
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon harissa chile paste, or to taste
  • Roasted tomato sauce

Step 1Place the rice in a small bowl and soak in enough water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Step 2While the rice is soaking, bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Add the macaroni and cook just to al dente, about 7 minutes (this will vary depending on the brand and type of pasta). Drain and set aside.

Step 3Rinse the lentils, then drain and set aside.

Step 4In a medium, heavy-bottom pot with a lid, cook the onions in 2 tablespoons oil and clarified butter over medium-high heat just until they start to caramelize, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 5Stir in the rice and lentils and toast for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cumin and 1 teaspoon salt and toast an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 6Stir in the broth, loosely cover with the lid and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat and gently simmer, covered, steaming the rice and lentils until they're tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until remaining liquid is dissolved and the rice mix begins to crackle and toast on the bottom of the pan, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 7Combine the butter, remaining tablespoon oil, harissa and a pinch of salt in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into the rice mixture.

Step 8If serving immediately, place the kushary in a bowl and serve with a side of roasted tomato sauce to pour over the top. Otherwise, pour the kushary out onto a pan and spread in a thin layer to cool before storing.

Each one-half cup:
409 calories; 8 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 25 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 21 mg. cholesterol; 339 mg. sodium.
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