This is one of those recipes that is so easy and quick to make that it quickly becomes a fail safe fall back dish that complements so many things. It uses just a few cupboard ingredients and transforms basic couscous into something wonderful. It can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature or even cold - great for a leftover lunch the next day.
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Half a teaspoon Sugar
2 Ripe Tomatoes, diced small
150g Cous Cous
220ml Boiling Chicken Stock
40g Unsalted Butter
Salt & Pepper
Pour two tablespoons of the olive oil into a nonstick frying pan, about 20cm/8inch in diameter, and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until it has softened but not colored. Stir in the tomato paste and sugar and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, half a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper and cook for five minutes.
Meanwhile, put the couscous in a shallow bowl, pour over the boiling stock, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for ten minutes, then remove the cover and fluff the couscous with a fork. Add the tomato sauce and stir well.
Wipe the pan clean and heat the butter and the remaining on tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, spoon the couscous into the pan and use the back of the spoon to pat it down gently so it is all packed in snugly. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and allow the couscous to steam for ten to twelve minutes, until you can see a light brown color around the edges. Use an offset spatula or a knife to help you peer between the edge of the couscous and the side of the pan: you want a really crisp edge all over the base and sides.
Invert a large plate on top of the pan and quickly invert the pan and plate together, releasing the couscous onto the plate.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
(This is a tried and adapted recipe from Ottolenghi/Tamimi's "Jerusalem".)