January 10, 2010

Comfort food

When I was a kid my favorite food after chocolate pudding was Rice-A-Roni, "the San Francisco treat!" Something about it completely appealed to my taste buds. Was it the toasted pasta? The chicken flavor? I've never been sure. Risotto comes close but can be more hassle to make.

As a kosher-keeping Jew, I can't cook Rice-A-Roni in my kitchen because it's made with non-kosher chicken flavoring. But a friend recently served me something she called "rice with stuff" which tasted just like my childhood fave. She shared the recipe with me and I am sharing my brown rice adaptation with you.

Jill's Homemade Rice-a-Roni
(serves four)

3/4 cup brown rice
1/2 cup tiny broken pieces of vermicelli (or orzo pasta)
1 small onion, chopped
2 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an oven- and stove-proof pot that has a lid, saute chopped onion in olive oil. Add pasta and continue to cook until it begins to brown. Add rice, pour broth over rice/pasta mixture and add salt if desired. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place in hot oven. Bake 1 hour until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed.

I also saute mushrooms and other vegetables with the onion to boost the flavor and add even more fiber. Last night's version included artichoke hearts in olive oil and was very tasty!

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