Update: An incomplete draft without the full recipe was accidentally published yesterday. I have corrected it.
Happy Monday! I know, it’s really Wednesday, but with Purim on Sunday, the kids all still on vacation Monday, and Tuesday being “get to preschool late because I’m tired from vacation” day and national weekly end school early day and one of my kids’ birthdays, my “normal” week is getting off to a late start. And it’s almost over. Today is another birthday, and tomorrow I already need to get ready for Shabbos because there’s another family event on Friday. So cleaning for Pesach (Passover) is getting a slow start. In the meantime, however, the annual two weeks of carb-binging followed by two weeks of gluten-free meals in an effort to rid the home of leaven is in full swing. Does your home look like this between Purim and Pesach, too?
PROBLEM: My two-year-old wants macaroni and cheese for lunch every day. I am trying to use up all flour-based products in the next two weeks so I can clean for Passover knowing that Cheerios will not get kicked down the hall when I turn my back. My pasta supply is now dangerously low.
SOLUTION: P’timim. This orzo-like toasted pasta is commonly known in English as “Israeli couscous” or “pearl couscous” because of its round shape, resembling couscous. (Don’t be fooled. Israeli couscous is not considered couscous in Israel.)
I made it into a complete, healthy meal by pairing the “pearls” with peas. Since they are the same shape, they mix in well and look nice, in addition to adding fiber, protein, and vitamins.
Okay, I guess looking nice is relative. They do add a splash of color!
For the sauce, I use partly 28% fat grated yellow cheese and partly 5% fat gevinah levanah, soft white cheese. My preferred brand of gevinah levanah is Strauss “Ski” because it contains a little cream and tastes the creamiest. If you don’t live in Israel, I suggest subbing low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt for the gevinah levanah.
The most important difference between p’titim and pasta when making macaroni and cheese is that pasta normally has the starch rinsed off, whereas p’titim are not rinsed. So although a bit of flour or cornstarch is normally added to the cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese, it should not be added to p’titim.
1 teaspoon oil
500 gram bag ptitim
salt and pepper
2 cups frozen peas
250 gram (about a cup) soft white cheese or Greek yogurt
1 cup shredded yellow cheese
turmeric, paprika, garlic powder (optional)
- Heat oil in pot over medium flame. Add p’titim and stir to prevent burning.
- Boil 1 liter water.(May be done before step 1, too.)
- Add salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings to dry p’titim and mix.
- Add water CAREFULLY. The p’titim tend to jump and splash onto the stove. I recommend having the pot cover handy to clamp on immediately. Any other methods of keeping the p’titim from jumping out of the pot are very welcome in the comments.
- Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for five minutes until most of the water has been absorbed.
- Add peas and cook for one more minute.
- Turn off stove. Add grated cheese and stir until it has melted.
- Add white cheese and stir until a uniform cheese sauce coats the p’titim and peas.
- Adjust seasonings if necessary.