1BunchAsparagus– trimmed and cut into 1’’ pieces (about 1 pound)
1largeCarrot– peeled and small dice (about ¾ cup)
1Yellow Bell Pepper- core and seeds removed, small dice (about 1 cup)
2Shallots– finely diced
½tspRed Pepper Flakes
½tspKosher Salt, plus more to taste
½PintCherry Tomatoes– halved or quartered (= 1 heaping Cup)
1cupHeavy Cream(can substitute half and half)
Black Pepper, to taste
½cupParmesan- Shaved, optional
¼cupParsley- roughly chopped
Lemon Wedges, for serving
For the Whipped Ricotta: Place ricotta, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Turn on and process until ricotta is smooth, light and whipped to desired consistency. Set aside.
For the Peas: Steam or Microwave (add 1 tablespoon of water to container if microwaving) peas for 2 ½ - 3 minutes, to partially cook. Set aside.
Cook the Couscous: In a medium sized saucepan bring 1 ½ cups of chicken stock, measured kosher salt and butter to a boil. Add the couscous, and stir. Immediately cover and remove from the heat. Allow the couscous to stand, covered for 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
While couscous is cooking, prepare the vegetables: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and asparagus, season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through but still have some bite to them. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add a tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add the shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Season with ½ tsp salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds-1 minute, or until fragrant.
Add the wine and remaining ½ cup of stock, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and mustard, and bring back to simmer. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until sauce starts to thicken.
Add the asparagus mixture back to the pan along with the peas. Stir and cook for 2 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes and couscous to the pan, stir and cook until coated and thoroughly combined.
Taste and adjust for seasoning. Remove from heat and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, grated parmesan and parsley. Serve with a dollop of whipped ricotta on top.
To make into an Entrée: Add in cooked chicken, shrimp or tofu