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Servings: 4 to 6

It’s easy to tailor a rice pilaf to your taste. For example, add minced garlic or other aromatics with the onion,
and fold in fresh herbs just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups basmati or other long-grain rice
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter or mild vegetable oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2-2/3 cups hot lower-salt chicken broth or water
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron threads, crushed (optional)

Preparation

  • In a large bowl, rinse the rice with cold water, stirring it with your hands to remove as much of the surface starch as possible. The water should be very cloudy. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse again under cold running water. Drain thoroughly.
  • Heat the butter or oil in a 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are translucent, about 3 minutes. For a toastier flavor, continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly colored and smells nutty, about 2 minutes more.
  • Stir in the broth or water, salt, pepper, and saffron, if using. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat so that the liquid simmers gently. Cover and cook until the rice grains are plump, fluffy, and separate, and all of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. (Check by using a skewer or other utensil to poke through the rice to the bottom of the pan.)
  • Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, lay a folded kitchen towel over the pan, and cover again to hold the towel in place. Let the rice rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid and towel, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

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