Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rice Pilaf

This is a rice pilaf recipe that I have been making for some time.  It is one of those sides that goes with just about anything.  It has wonderful flavor from the butter and from the chicken stock.  I like to add lots of black pepper.  There are many different variations of rice pilaf, but I particularly like adding the bits and pieces of spaghetti.  I am sure I would like some veggies thrown in, but the simplicity of this version is wonderful.

And I can't go on without at least mentioning Rice-a-roni.  I may have had an obsession with Rice-a-roni when I was a teenager.  Obsessed enough for my bestie to buy me 16 boxes of Rice-a-roni for my 16 birthday.  And this recipe is pretty much what is on the box except no seasoning packet.  We can all benefit from removing seasoning packets from our lives.  Can we all agree that serving "rice pilaf" is much more impressive than serving "rice-a-roni"?

One note on the liquid/rice ratio, it might vary a bit depending on what kind of rice you use (like if you use a regular short or long-grain rice rather than jasmine).  It also might depend on where you live.  In CO, I always had to use a lot more liquid.  It is pretty hard to screw this up, though.  You can always add more liquid if the rice and noodles have absorbed all the liquid  but aren't full cooked.  It is not very sensitive at all.  Jasmine rice is very nice in this, though, since it isn't nearly as sticky as the regular long grain.  And  I just prefer the chew quality.

This is, of course, not to be overshadowed by the lobster tail and dish of butter sitting along side it.  Apparently, we were in the midst of "lobster season" the past several months and no one told me.  Sort of rude.  I didn't move out East to miss lobster season.

If you are wondering, I used this method for cooking the lobster tail.  It was magical.  

Rice Pilaf
adapted from Rachael Ray

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 heaping cup of broken spaghetti bits (about 1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 cup jasmine rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
Salt and lots of black pepper

In a medium saucepan melt butter over moderate heat. Add thin spaghetti bits and rice and brown for 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth or water, salt and pepper, and bring liquid to a full boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer and cook rice 18 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

(Servings: 4-6, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  1/5
Dishwashing Effort:  1/5


  1. I agree...rice pilaf sounds way fancier and those seasoning packets can be good for us :-) But both are pretty darn delicious. I'm drinking a big cup of tea, but even with that hot beverage in my stomach, I'm hungry! I think I need to break out the banana bread. Thanks for sharing, sweet friend!

  2. I actually have a really easy time screwing up rice. I do it every.single.time. I either have too much or not enough water. I must be really bad at understand the needs of my grain because it will be cooking forrrrevvvverrrr and still not be done and I actually convinced myself recently that its my stoves fault... because theres no one else to blame. i think i need a rice 101 class. or like a self help group

    1. kt, i had the same problem for a long time. i ended up just buying a rice cooker and it fixed all my problems. rice pilaf is much more forgiving. sort of like risotto. also, ive heard that jasmine rice is much easier to cook. i buy it in bulk, so i always just google the ratio of jasmine rice to water. one thing i can think of is that you need to simmer it covered, i have made the mistake of simmering it uncovered and then too much of the water evaporates and the rice never cooks. lots of my asian friends tell me to do the 1 inch (or middle finger knuckle test) here:

      but i just know the perfect levels for my rice cooker now. i feel like this isn't that helpful but good luck!

    2. Noooooo that's super helpful. I soak up all the rice advice I can get! Thanks Shan!

  3. could you make this rice pilaf in a rice cooker?

    1. you love a rice cooker. you could, but in my rice cooker, i can't brown the rice and noodles in butter first. it would lose some of the nuttiness from that step. i pretty much only steam rice in mine, but you should try!