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Street recipe: Rice, lentils and pasta with tomatoes -- it's Kushary

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Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Servings: 3 cups each kushary and sauce

Note: While the tomatoes are cooking, start preparing the kushary. Clarified butter can be found at Trader Joe's and 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

1. In 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.

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

3. Add 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.

4. Purée 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.)

5. Season 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

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

2. While 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.

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

4. In 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.

5. Stir 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.

6. Stir 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.

7. Combine the butter, remaining tablespoon oil, harissa and a pinch of salt in a small sauté 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.

8. If 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.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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