A delicious side dish with a wonderful flavor and color!
Rice is always an issue that brings conflict in a kitchen. When it enters the menu, different people have different preferences. Some like it grainy and “al dente”, others want it mushy, some prefer it risotto-like.
And it’s not just the texture. There are countless ways that this basic food can be cooked. Not to mention all the different varieties that exist.
But then again, that’s what makes this ingredient so wonderful. So many kinds to choose from, so many wonderful things to do!
My children love rice. The Chinese way. Plain, drained, no additions. And they want it a little bit on the overcooked side. The adults of the family, on the other hand, are all into cooking with many ingredients and many flavor combinations. Which makes plain rice a “not-really-my-favorite” kind of side dish.
In short, whenever a bowl of rice appeared on our table, not everyone was happy.
Until the first making of this recipe.
I had tried many ways to cook rice in the past. Boiled, steamed, fried, in the oven. But some time ago I came across a recipe that combined two ways. I tweaked it a bit to bring it closer to our preferences and the result was a real surprise. Everybody liked it!
This delicious side dish not only comes with a perfect texture but it also contains one of my most favorite spices in the world. Saffron! Its amazing smell and color transforms even the simplest recipe to a wonderful gourmet-like dish. And it’s so rich in anti-oxidants, minerals and carotenoids that it definitely deserves a place in our spice rack.
But enough talking. Let’s move on to the recipe!
Baked rice with saffron and pine nuts
What you need:
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ¼ tsp saffron powder
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cups long-grain rice
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Salt and pepper
What to do:
– Preheat the oven at 400°F / 200°C. Grease a 3lb loaf tin or casserole dish with olive oil.
– In a small saucepan, over medium heat, mix together the vegetable stock and the saffron powder and stir until the saffron is dissolved. Let it come to a boil and reduce the heat to the lowest possible just to keep it hot.
– In a large, non-stick saucepan, heat the oil and butter over low heat. When it starts sizzling, add the onion and sauté for two minutes. Add the rice and sauté for another 5 minutes or until the rice starts becoming translucent.
– Raise the heat to medium, add the pine nuts and sauté for two minutes.
– Slowly stir in the hot stock. Add salt and pepper and let it cook for one more minute.
– Empty the saucepan in the loaf tin, stir a little and cover with a piece of parchment paper. On top of that put a large piece of aluminum foil. Use it to secure both of them together on the edges of your tin.
– Bake for 20 minutes.
– Remove the aluminum foil and parchment paper. The pine nuts will have risen to the surface and this is absolutely normal. Gently stir and cover with a clean towel for 10 minutes.
This has become my family’s favorite rice recipe.
What is your own favorite way of eating rice?