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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Nigel Slater’s recipe for couscous with labneh and tomato | Food

Peel 2 medium-sized onions and cut them into rings. Warm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a shallow pan, add the onions and cook until deep gold and sticky – a good 25 minutes. Stir them regularly.

Meanwhile, bring a medium-sized pan of water to the boil, salt it as you would for pasta, add 200g of giant couscous (mograbia) and boil for about 20-25 minutes until tender. Check its progress every 5 minutes or so; it needs to be tender but with a bite to it, like pasta.

Put a 400g can of chopped tomatoes in a deep casserole, add 2 tsp of berbere spice mix, then bring to the boil. Halve 300g of cherry tomatoes and add them to the pan with a little salt and black pepper and let everything simmer for 15 minutes, with the occasional stir, until thick and deep red.

Drain the couscous, stir the grains into the tomato sauce with half the browned, sticky onions. Check the seasoning. Divide between 2 shallow bowls or plates. Add a spoonful (about 75g) of labneh to each, then the rest of the onions. Enough for 2

The berbere spice mix, available from most major supermarkets and grocers, is made from toasted spices, so there is no need to toast it before use.

Stir the onions as they cook to stop them from scorching, but not so regularly that they fail to leave a sticky, caramelised layer on the pan – there is much flavour to be found there.

Should mograbia prove evasive, use small pasta shapes such as orzo or even short, thin macaroni instead.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater

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