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Rice Pilaf with Rosemary

November 29, 2008

It was recently brought to my attention that a contingent of our population is “cooking” rice pilaf from a box. A box—really? Okay, now I know it is easier and off-hand less intimidating, but making the real stuff from scratch is actually quite easy and much more flavorful. So I made it my mission to find a recipe that is super easy and guaranteed to convert you boxed pilaf folks to the real thing.For those of you not familiar with pilaf, this method is unique in that it toasts the grain before cooking (much like cooking risotto). This provides the grain a nutty flavor and firmer texture. It also allows for the starches to gelatinize, which helps keep the grains separate when cooked and pick-up the flavors of the dish.

Okay, so back to the recipe. This one is courtesy of Tyler Florence on The Food Network with some variations of my own. Not only it is super easy and flavorful, but it was one of the only recipes I could find that truly toasted the rice. Don’t be fooled, folks, a lot of the pilaf recipes out there are posers—just rice mixed with stuff. They call that pilaf? So wrong.

Anyway, so here is the recipe dedicated to you closeted boxed pilaf cooks out there (you know who you are). This makes 2 1/2 cups:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (can substitute with olive oil)
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup basmati-style long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (if you use regular broth, add less salt above)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (about 4-5 inches)
  • Toasted pine nuts or sliced almonds (optional)
  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and shallot to butter and sauté. Season with the salt and pepper and cook until the onions and garlic are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir until coated with the butter. Increase the heat to medium-high. Let the rice cook until toasted, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir in the broth, bay leaf, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer over low heat, cover, and cook until all the broth has been absorbed by the rice and the rice is tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. (You can shorten this cooking time by about 5 minutes if you heat the broth before adding it to the rice.)
  4. Remove from the heat (still covered) and let set for 5 minutes. Discard the rosemary and bay leaf (and garlic clove if you wish).
  5. Fluff the rice with a fork and mix-in pine nuts or almonds, if using. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve.
4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ms. O'C permalink
    November 30, 2008 2:35 pm

    Yahoo!!! A new recipe to try. What a gorgeous photo of the finished product, too. I will admit, I am a fan of the Near East box, but I am sure this will put it to shame.

  2. Laura permalink
    December 2, 2008 12:15 am

    Finally! What I have been waiting months for…a post, and a perfect one at that. I am extremely guilty of making Rice A Roni about 4 times a week. Can’t wait to try this out. Thanks Kristin!

  3. Alison H permalink
    December 2, 2008 3:04 am

    Woohoo! As someone who is a box cooker, I’m excited to have a real fresh rice recipe to try out.

  4. sarah permalink
    December 3, 2008 3:33 pm

    i am so glad you are posting again, and i think this will go perfectly with my lemon roast chicken. x

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