You can’t get much simpler or more delicious than farmhouse-style cooking — meals cooked from ingredients in season using time-tested techniques and not a lot of bells and whistles. Pick up a copy of The Farm Cooking School and get back to basics with simple pleasures. We’re loving this simple recipe for hand-rolled couscous. 

Our fascination with hand-rolled couscous started with a recipe by Moroccan-born chef Mourad Lahlou that Shelley found while searching for couscous that would remind her of the versions she’d tasted in Paris, a city with wonderful pockets of North African influence. With its lighter texture and fresher taste, the difference between this and the instant stuff is night and day. Having played with Lahlou’s recipe many times, here is our adaptation. A couscoussière is a large pot made up of two parts: the base, where the stew is cooked, and the top section, which has a perforated bottom, where the couscous steams. If you don’t have one, you can use a pasta pot with a shallow steamer insert and lid.

Better “Instant” Couscous

We love the fluff of hand-rolled couscous, but we also live in the real world, one in which we don’t always have the time to make couscous by hand. When we find ourselves wanting couscous in less time, we use this technique for a much better store-bought result. It’s not exactly instant, but it’s still very quick and serves 4–6 people.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Dissolve 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in 3 cups warm water. Pour 3 cups instant couscous into a large shallow pan and drizzle with all of the water, raking with your fingers to distribute it evenly. Let the couscous sit for 15 minutes to absorb the water.

Drizzle the couscous with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and work the grains between your palms to separate them and work out any clumps. Transfer the grains to a large baking dish and bake in the oven, uncovered, turning the grains occasionally, until they begin to steam, 10 to 15 minutes. Loosely mound the grains on a platter and serve. — Serves 4 to 6

Reprinted with permission from The Farm Cooking School