Wednesday, December 3, 2008

roz-a-roni, the middle eastern treat?

the good people of lebanon have been enjoying "rice-a-roni" long before it was the san fransisco treat. lebanese rice pilaf is an incredibly versatile dish that lends itself to many different interpretations. the recipe that follows will get you familiar with the basics. -master that then try using different seasonings, cooking liquids, and rice/pasta combinations.

Lebanese Rice Pilaf (Rice-a-Roni)
yield 2.5 qts

35 ounces chicken stock
1 TBS goya adobo seasoning
1 tsp old bay seasoning
1 TBS canola oil
1 bay leaf

2 TBS butter (or vegetable oil)
2 cups long grain rice
1 cup uncooked vermicelli, broken into 1/2 inch pieces *
2 cloves garlic, minced

1. combine chicken stock, adobo, old bay, canola oil, and the bay leaf in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer and keep screaming HOT but do not cook it down!!!

2. melt butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. add dry rice and pasta, saute until lightly toasted; about 3-5 minutes. DO NOT BURN. add garlic and saute until fragrant; about 1 minute.

3. bring the stock back up to a boil and immediately add it to the rice/pasta. stir once, cover, and reduce to a bare simmer. cook UNDISTERBED for 20 minutes, kill the heat and let rest for 10 more minutes -- UNDISTURBED !!! **

4. uncover and fluff with a fork and serve with lamb, chicken, stews or veggies.

* orzo is a great substitution for the vermicelli; it's already bite-sized and everything. most types of long, thin pasta can be used successfully, i've had good results with both linguine and spaghetti.

** add 1 cup of thawed veggies to the pilaf as it rests; the residual steam will heat them through. peas and carrots are a good start.

© 2008 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" -