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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The San Francisco Treat

Rice is not all that exciting.  But lets face it.   Whole civilizations have been built on it so it's nothing to laugh at.  But it is, after all, just rice.

I have to admit that I as an adult I have never been a huge fan of rice.  White rice is so white and to me, brown rice is too earthy.  It's not since Rice-A-Roni that I looked forward to rice as a side dish.

Oh well.

When I was growing up, Rice-A-Roni was my mother's go-to side dish and we all loved it.  The commercials made it seem so special, with the San Francisco cable car clanking it's way up a steep hill.  Rice-A-Roni was, like the commercials said,  the San Francisco treat.

I have no idea if Rice-A-Roni really came from San Francisco.  It doesn't matter because it was a catchy slogan and we all know it's all about what's catchy.  I still remember the slogan, and the commercials for that matter, so I'd say it was a successful ad campaign.

But here's the thing.  All Rice-A-Roni was was a flavored rice pilaf.  It wasn't anything particularly fancy or special.  Yes, it was convenient.  But was it the best rice pilaf around?  Probably not.

Back then, I didn't actually know what rice pilaf was and I certainly didn't know that that's what Rice-A-Roni was.  I'm not sure my mother did either.

But now that I'm a self-appointed food professional, I know a lot more about things like rice pilaf and I'm here to tell you that making your own produces a far tastier pilaf than anything you'll ever find in a box.  And making your own is just as easy.  It's really just a couple of ingredients and you'll have your own San Francisco treat.

And for those brown rice lovers among us, if you were so inspired, you could make a brown rice pilaf. Just increase the cooking time to accommodate for the differences in the rice.

Recipe:  Herbed Rice Pilaf


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cups long grain white rice
1 cup dried angel hair pasta, broken into 1 inch pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons assorted fresh herbs (flat leaf parsley, dill, etc.)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Saute the onion until it is softened, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the rice and the pasta and saute, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Fluff rice with a fork, and stir in the herbs.

1 comment:

  1. I never knew that pilaf meant pasta was added.hmr