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Summer's Ending, So Let's Go Couscous

September 10, 1997|BETTY ROSBOTTOM | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Rosbottom is the author of "American Favorites" (Chapters Publishing, 1996)

With farmers markets bursting with farm-fresh produce, it's the perfect time to invite friends over for a simple supper created with late-summer vegetables and fruits. With ripe orange-fleshed melons, tomatoes, tender green beans, bunches of rosemary and parsley and several boxes of raspberries you have the makings of a great meal.

Halve the melons and serve them chilled with a drizzle of Port and a garnish of fresh mint. With rosemary-scented roast sea bass fillets or chicken, serve blanched green beans and couscous mixed with chopped tomatoes, herbs, olives and bits of ricotta salata cheese. This special couscous can be prepared in less than 20 minutes and is also delicious with grilled lamb chops or robust-flavored salmon.

For dessert, top cake with raspberries, raspberry sauce and ice cream.

LATE-SUMMER COUSCOUS WITH TOMATOES, OLIVES AND HERBS (UNDER AN HOUR)

Ricotta salata is a solid, slightly salty cheese that is available in cheese shops and in the cheese section of some supermarkets. The ricotta salata pieces do not melt but retain their shape when added to the couscous. If you cannot find ricotta salata, substitute 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese.

2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking couscous

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1/3 cup slivered, pitted green olives

2 teaspoons chopped rosemary

2 tablespoons chopped chives or flat-leaf parsley

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 cup (1/2-inch) diced tomatoes

2/3 cup (1/4-inch) diced ricotta salata cheese (3 to 4 ounces)

Salt

Bring chicken broth to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let rest 5 minutes.

Stir in butter, olives, rosemary, chives, orange zest, tomatoes and cheese. Taste and season with salt if needed. Serve warm.

6 servings. Each serving:

270 calories; 494 mg sodium; 22 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 38 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 0.62 gram fiber.

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