I don’t care how easy they say that they are to make, those rice blends at the supermarket are overrated. Dehydrated herbs and chicken flavor make up the taste profile, and you can’t be sure how long it’s all been sitting on the shelf. You can totally take control of your own destiny – make your own rice pilaf in the same amount of time with no fillers or preservatives.
This pilaf takes ordinary converted rice and boosts it with a bit of toasted orzo. The little pasta grains impart texture, nuttiness and a lovely color to the dish – you get depth of flavor with really no additional work. This recipe is a great, quick side for a weeknight dinner – while you prepare your main dish, you can have a pot of this simmering away on the back burner. Best of all, when it’s done, you can fluff with a fork and recover until the rest of the meal is finished. It’ll wait for you until you’re ready to go. Rice that’s patient? Who woulda thunk it?
Rice Pilaf with Toasted Orzo
2 c. of converted, parboiled rice (like Uncle Ben’s)
1/2 c. of orzo
1 tsp. of fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
2 tbs. of olive oil
2 tbs. of butter
4 c. of vegetable (or chicken stock)
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil to shimmering. Add the butter and the orzo to the hot pan, continuously stirring to brown the orzo but not burn it. Once the orzo is toasty brown, add the rice, pepper and oregano. Stir to combine and add the chicken broth. Let the mixture come to a boil, then cover the pot and lower the heat to low.
Cook pilaf until all water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Uncover rice and fluff with a fork. Serve.