Giant couscous with meatball

I love food, both for the flavour and its story. Because food doesn’t just exist – there’s always a story.

Such is the case with giant couscous, which I have recently become obsessed with. Necessity being the mother of invention, David Ben-Gurion – first prime minister of Israel – tasked local manufacturers with creating a wheat-based alternative to rice in the austere 1950s.

What they created was something a lot like orzo, and in time, giant couscous – which is why it’s often known as Israeli couscous. It is, being wheat-based, technically pasta.

This recipe is a riff on a Gousto recipe. I won’t pretend giant couscous was easy to find (I eventually parted with £2.30 for 300g in Sainsbury’s, but I think my local Asian supermarket stocks it – unsurprisingly not under the name Israeli couscous – for far less).

I omitted the cheddar, and instead grated some parmesan atop for a good hit of savouriness. I also swapped out the fresh basil for dried, and the spring onion for half a white onion I had in the fridge.

Garlic cloves became garlic puree, and the Panko breadcrumbs I miraculously had in the cupboard as a result of making arancini. Other than that, I followed the recipe fairly faithfully.

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