Couscous with spicy meatballs, vegetables and chickpeas in double Parmigiano Reggiano crust baskets - Morocco

Daniela Corso - Gustorie

  • Difficoltà


  • Stagionatura

    24 months

  • For the couscous:
  • 350 g medium durum wheat semolina
  • mixed powder spices (cumin, paprika, cardamom, turmeric, coriander, red pepper, cloves, cinnamon)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 6 bay leaves
  • For the meatballs:
  • 250 g ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • parsley to taste
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • mixed spice powder (cumin, paprika, cardamom, turmeric, coriander, red pepper, cloves, cinnamon)
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • For the broth:
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 loaf of crusty Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 litre water
  • For the vegetables:
  • 150 g dried chickpeas
  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 40 g almonds
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • dried chilli to taste
  • a few basil leaves
  • garlic clove
  • salt to taste
  • For Parmigiano Reggiano baskets:
  • 80 g Parmigiano Reggiano

Soak the beans overnight. Rinse them; put them in a crock pot covered with cold water and cook for about three hours. Drain, toss with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt then set aside. Pour some semolina into a low and wide earthenware container and knead it with wet hands, making circular movements. Continue until the flour begins to crumble, and then put it in another bowl. Continue until you finish all the semolina. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of mixed spices on the moistened semolina and with your hands rub this in well to cover all the grains. Fill three-quarters of a pot with cold water, pour in a little olive oil and place the couscous pot over it. Seal the edges of the pot with a mixture of flour and water to keep the steam in. Place the bay leaves on the bottom of the couscous pot and put the couscous on top. Make holes in the flour to allow for even cooking. Cover with a lid and put the pot on the fire for about two hours, stirring occasionally. Mix the ingredients for the meatballs. Let the mix rest for 10 minutes, then form small balls and fry in a hot pan with oil. Remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside. Prepare the broth by pouring water in a pot, then adding the peeled and halved vegetables, garlic and a rind of Parmigiano Reggiano. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then strain it through a sieve. Remove the rind of the Parmigiano Reggiano and set aside. Prepare the vegetables for the sauce: put the dried tomatoes in a large bowl, cover with warm water and let soften for about 20 minutes, rinse and cut with a knife. Drizzle with a little olive oil, add some chopped basil leaves and mix well. Wash and peel the aubergine, courgettes and bell pepper. Cut the eggplant into chunks, season with salt and leave to drain in a colander for about an hour. Peel and slice the spring onion and sauté with the unpeeled garlic in a large non-stick pan with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Remove the garlic, add the courgettes, the bell pepper cut into pieces and the rinsed aubergine and fry over high heat for five minutes. Slightly lower the heat and continue cooking for another ten minutes, until the vegetables are well cooked, but not mushy. Add the chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped almonds and chunks of the Parmigiano Reggiano crust cooked in the stock. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and basil, then season with salt. Prepare the baskets by putting a pan on the stove. When warm cover the bottom with a thin layer of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, lower the flame and wait for it to solidify slightly. When the edges start to brown, take the pan off the heat and gently remove the hard cheese. Place it on to an upside-down bowl and allow it to cool so that it takes on the shape of the container. Continue with the rest of the Parmigiano Reggiano until you get four baskets, and then set aside. When the couscous is cooked, pour it in a wide and low container, pour over vegetable broth and let it stand covered for 30 minutes. Mix the sauce with vegetables and meatballs and serve in Parmigiano Reggiano baskets.


Couscous is the base staple and typical dish of Northern Africa. The term refers to both the semolina grains and the finished dish with meat, fish, and vegetables and in its sweet version, with cinnamon, dried fruit and orange flower water. In the Maghreb countries each family traditionally brought their grain to the mill and got semolina. From this region, couscous has spread to France, western Sicily, Spain and the Middle East, arriving in South America through the Portuguese colonies that emigrated from Morocco. Today there are many pre-cooked versions, but the original recipe calls for careful processing of the semolina beforehand, and then long steaming in a special holed couscous pot. The result is a masterpiece of Moroccan cuisine.
Daniela Corso