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Kushary (rice, lentils and pasta with tomatoes)

Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Yields Makes 3 cups each kushary and sauce
Kushary (rice, lentils and pasta with tomatoes)

Roasted tomato sauce

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

Puree 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

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 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.

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.

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.

Rene Lynch is a writer and editor with the Saturday section in features. She works across a variety of coverage areas, including wellness, design and food, and edits the weekly L.A. Affairs column.
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