Rice Pilaf: simple, useful, and fast

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If I were to be asked if I prefer pasta or rice, I would certainly opt for the latter. My family has always eaten a lot of rice, but not the usual sickly looking, unappetizing boiled rice, but rather rice pilaf.
Cooking rice pilaf is very specific, and very similar to that of couscous: the water must not be drained, and one completely absorbed, it improves the nutritional value of the rice. In fact, rice cooked in this manner keeps all its starch, because it does not end in the boiling water. This method of cooking also keeps the kernels firm and well separated.

The rice pilaf goes exceptionally well with all stews that you can imagine, goes well with spices and sauces, and can easily be reused for rice cakes.

Ingredients for one person (multiply to infinity)

  • parboiled rice (usually basmati is used)
  • oil
  • salt

Start from the basic principle of rice pilaf cooking: rice and water used for cooking must be the same (usually the unit of measure is a level cup).
Take a saucepan and pour in a cup of water, along with salt to taste, and a drizzle of oil that must cover, more or less, 70% of the surface of water.

Keep in mind that the salt is not used in large quantities since you will be using very little water, of which the majority will be absorbed. If you think about it, it’s just the opposite of what happens for pasta, where salt abounds, but is then drained with the water.

Wait a few minutes until the water begins to boil: when this happens, pour the rice, and immediately put a lid on the saucepan. When, after about a minute, the water resumes boiling, give a stir, put the lid on once again, and leave it on until the end of cooking, greatly lowering the heat (my advice: do not lower the heat to a minimum, but rather almost shut off, in order to obtain a very weak flame).

Usually, a cup of rice takes 15/18 minutes, and is enough for one hungry person, or two on a diet.
Two cups of rice make 2/3 portions: the rice should be left on the heat about 20/23 minutes.
Three cups is enough for 4 people, and should cook about half an hour.

This is only the base … I leave the challenge of turning this simple food into a special dish for your guests to your creativity!
As for me, when I eat rice with a stew, I usually add some turmeric, in addition to oil and salt, to make it yellow and give it a light aroma, without having to buy the basmati that costs three times the amount of parboiled rice.
For a “single person’s dinner”, I often eat it accompanied only by drained tuna in oil, or grated Grana Padano cheese, or scrambled eggs, or some goat cheese with a little chili oil … it is really versatile and once you try it, can be really satisfying.

Happy creating!

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