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This dish marries salty, savory flavors with fresh herbal notes and the nuttiness of roasted almonds. Fennel seeds add licorice undertones; grind the seeds to a powder in an electric spice grinder or with mortar and pestle (if you can find preground fennel seed at the store, use an equal amount). The herbs are less likely to discolor if chopped just before use; prep them while the pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous) cooks. Serve as a light main course, or offer it as a side dish to grilled or roasted chicken or lamb.
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
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