This is my favorite way to prepare couscous. It's the speedier of two methods suggested by cookbook author and chef Joyce Goldstein, who's written extensively about North African recipes and practically begs readers not to follow the package directions, which result in very dense, heavy couscous.
According to Goldstein, this is the best quick way to achieve a light, fluffy texture without actually having to steam the couscous several times in the traditional way.
Pour 3 cups dry couscous into a lasagne-type pan. Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil, season water with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and pour over the couscous. Stir well with a fork to moisten every piece. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10-15 minutes, or even longer if the water is not all absorbed. (She assures us that it WILL absorb, eventually!) Rake with a fork to break up lumps, and serve right away.
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