Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rice Pilaf (Rice A Roni From Scratch)

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There are just some recipes that I have made so many times, and are such a breeze that I forget some people might not know how to make them. My Rice Pilaf is one of those recipes.
    In the past I have mentioned that I keep boxed rice mix in my pantry for busy nights when I don't want to even think about dinner. I just dump everything in a pot and let it go for 20 minutes (see Busy Night Rice-A-Roni). But the truth is, it's just as easy to make you're own "rice-a-roni" from scratch (and it's probably healthier for you too). I make it all the time. It's the perfect accompaniment to any meal. Tonight I served it with my Brown Butter Talapia, but it would just as easily go well with steak or chicken.
   It really couldn't be easier. And it's always a hit!

Here's how it starts:

Melt some butter in a sauce pan.

Next comes the pasta. I like to use Orzo (rice shaped pasta) but almost anything would do: broken spaghetti or angel hair, etc. It goes into the pan with the butter.

Cook the dry pasta over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the pasta begins to toast and turn brown. You'll be able to smell the nutty aroma.

Next comes the rice.

Toast the rice in the pan with the pasta for just a could minutes.

The granules will start to turn opaque.

Next, the chicken stock comes to the party. I prefer my Homemade Chicken Stock but any kind will do.

Bring the mixture up to a boil, and put the lid on. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes (until the liquid is almost absorbed and the rice is tender).

Then I add in some frozen peas. And no, I don't even bother defrosting them.
This is optional of course. You could add any precooked veggie of your choice - or no veggie at all if that is your thing. Some toasted nuts might be nice as well, but not necessary.

I just stir the peas in and then cook it on low, with the lid on for another 2-3 minutes (until all the liquid is gone and the peas are heated through).

Nothing left to do but serve and eat! Wasn't that easy? Homemade Rice-A-Roni; who knew (besides me of course). Am I silly for sharing? :)

Here's the recipe:

Rice Pilaf 

 1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup Orzo pasta
1 cup long grain white rice
2 1/4 cups chicken broth/stock
3/4 peas

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over moderate heat. Add the dry pasta. Cook the pasta until it starts to turn brown, stirring frequently. Add the rice, stir, and cook for another couple of minutes. The rice will start to turn white (opaque) and the pasta will turn more brown. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Put a lid on the pot, turn down the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the peas. Cook for another 2 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed, the rice is tender and the peas are heated through. Serve warm.

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