Q: Is couscous a grain? If not, what is it? Buford Wilson, Valrico, FL
A: Couscous is a pasta made from semolina flour mixed with water. The process of making couscous used to be extremely labor-intensive, requiring hours of drying in the sun, but most couscous today is produced by machines. The couscous you buy in grocery stores has been steamed at least twice and then dried, so all you have to do is plump it up with boiling water. It's great with stews, or excellent tossed with a little melted butter and salt.
There's also Israeli couscous, also sometimes called pearl couscous, which is small globe-shaped noodles. They're fantastic in pasta salads, or anywhere you'd usually use orzo.
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