For two portions:
- Couscous, about 300ml
- Vegetable stock, same amount as couscous
- 5 mushrooms, any type, diced
- 5 shallots, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
- 1 pear, peeled and diced (store in lemon-juiced water until ready, to prevent discolouration)
- Pancetta, a good chunk, diced
- Pistachios, shelled, a handful
- Olive oil, salt and pepper
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Fresh sage leaves, around 10
**This was an attempt at creating something with an autumnal flavour - an attempt that somewhat succeeded. I really enjoyed the delicate nuttiness of the pistachios combined with the salt and sweet of pancetta and pear. Some pumpkin might have lifted this to new heights.**
1. Fry off the pancetta with a touch of oil in a pan to give it a little colour. Add the shallots, mushrooms, garlic and sage leaves and toss occasionally. Add a touch of balsamic for colour and sweetness. Season. Turn the heat right down and throw in a knob of butter to give it all a good gloss.
2. In another pan, boil the stock. When it is at a rolling boil, pour the stock into a bowl with the couscous - it should just cover the couscous. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside.
3. Add the pear and pistachios to your pancetta and shallots. Toss together on a high heat for a few minutes to let the pear soften slightly. An alternative would be to put the pear in and to dry-roast the pistachios in another pan before putting them in right before the end, for added crunch and flavour.
4. Uncover and fluff the couscous. Remove garlic cloves from pancetta mixture. Pour the pistachio, pear and pancetta loveliness into the couscous. Stir well, season, drizzle with olive oil and serve with a hunk of grilled fish drizzled with lemon juice.