First of all, if you’re using fresh beans, put them in cold water with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 sage leaf and a pinch of salt and boil them for roughly 30 minutes; then strain and leave them to cool.
In the meanwhile put the couscous in a large bowl – of glass or china – with 2 spoonfuls of olive oil and “break it up” with a fork (better still if wooden) to separate the little grains. In a small saucepan, bring to the boil a large cup of water with a pinch of salt, then turn off the heat and pour straight into the couscous; cover and leave until the water is absorbed, then break it up again. Prepare the vegetables: wash and clean the radishes and carrots (the latter peeled); remove the outer parts of the celery and fennel. Do the same with the artichokes, cut off good part of their prickly “tips” and then divide them in half; put them in cold water acidulated with lemon juice, for approximately 10 minutes, to prevent them from turning brown. After straining them well, divide the vegetables into 2 parts. Cut half into small cubes, which will then be added to the couscous, and the other half into sticks for the actual “pinzimonio” (= Italian crudités). As far as the artichokes are concerned …..cut 4 halves into small slices – roughly 12 pieces – for the pinzimonio, remove the top and leaves (which you will put on one side) from the others, and dice the “hearts” and stalks.
Pour the couscous onto a serving dish, add the diced vegetables, beans, pecorino cheese cut into cubes and some coarsely broken walnuts. Dress with 5 spoonfuls of “Olio Novo” (= new oil), salt and black pepper, and drizzle a spoonful of Balsamico Bianco on top. Mix everything together well; decorate with the remaining walnuts, the radishes carved like flowers and a few artichoke leaves.
In a small bowl prepare the dressing for the “pinzimonio”: mix 5 spoonfuls of olive oil, 1 spoonful of Balsamico Bianco, a teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGT, salt and black pepper to taste, emulsifying everything together well. This dressing can be used to dip the “sticks” of vegetables into but also to add flavour to the couscous.