Couscous with Tomato and Onion

Recipe from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi


3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 very ripe tomatoes, or a basket of cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch dice (for a total of 1and 3/4 cups chopped tomatoes)
1 cup cous cous
1 cup boiling chicken or vegetable stock (use good stock!)
2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper


Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan (ideally 9 inches) over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for five minutes, stirring often until softened but not colored.  Stir in the tomato paste and sugar and cook for 1 minute.  Then add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper and cook for 3 minutes.  

Put the cous cous in a shallow bowl and pour over the boiling stock.  Cover with plastic wrap and let side for 10 minutes.  Remove the cover and fluff with a fork, then add the tomato sauce and stir well.  Wipe the pan clean and heat the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.  When the butter is melted, spoon the cous cous into the pan and use the back of the spoon to pat it down gently so that it is all packed in snugly.  Cover the pan, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and allow the cous cous to steam for 10 - 12 minutes until you can see a light brown color around the edges.  Use an offset spatula or a knife to help you peep between the edge of the cous cous and the side of the pan.  You are looking for a crisp edge all over the bottom of the pan.  Invert a large plate on top of the pan and quickly invert the pan and plate together, releasing the cous cous onto the plate.  Serve warm.  Consider topping with some lovely, first of fall sautéed chard and/or some roasted or grilled last-of-summer peppers.