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Red Rice Pilaf

From The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters

3 to 4 servings

Sauté the rice to a light brown color for a nuttier-tasting pilaf.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Add and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes:

1 small onion, diced fine

Stir in and cook for 5 minutes:

1 cup long-grain rice, rinsed and drained


2 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 small tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine (or 2 plum tomatoes, canned or fresh)

1/2 teaspoon salt (less, if using seasoned broth)

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro

Stir and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in:

1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water

Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and cover tightly. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.


  • After the rice has been cooking, covered, for about 7 minutes, strew over the top of the rice vegetables such as green peas, cut green beans, or small florets of cauliflower or broccoli. Cover and continue cooking until the rice is done. Let rest for 10 minutes. Right before serving, stir together the rice and vegetables.
  • Add pieces of boned leftover roast chicken or roast or braised pork before covering and cooking the rice for the last 15 minutes.
  • Omit the tomatoes and increase the cilantro to 1/4 cup.
  • Use basmati rice; soak in water for 20 minutes and drain. Sauté diced onion and add to the rice with a generous pinch of saffron threads. Cook for a few minutes more and add the broth or water and salt, and cook, covered, until done.

From The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters. Copyright (c) 2007 by Alice Waters. Published by Clarkson Potter. Reprinted with permission.

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