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Moroccan Couscous Soup

(Harira Couscous)

This buttery and aromatic mideastern soup is both beautiful and palate-stimulating as a first course to plain, solid fare as well as to a Moroccan meal. It's especially terrific on those occasions when unexpected guests arrive for dinner. Why? Because the couscous continues to expand in everyone's stomach, leaving a feeling of fullness and repletion. And it's lightening fast to make. Serve hot to 6 people.

Mix the stock, couscous, butter, salt and pepper, and saffron in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for three minutes. Stir in the aniseed and cilantro. Serve immediately--if you delay it will turn into a gloppy mess.