When I was little, I was enraptured by commercials for Rice-a-roni. Not kosher, but I imagined it was the most deletable pilaf ever. Turns out, this boxed mix is just a pre-packaged version of a classic Armenian dish.
I have made Arthur Schwartz’s version before, and liked it quite a lot. In Molly O’Neill’s recent book, One Big Table, she has a recipe from Nancy Mehagian. (also here) Mehagian’s recipe is slightly different from Schwartz’s (1/2 cup butter, 2/3 cup broken vermicelli, 2 cups rice, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 5 cups chicken broth). I changed the recipe ever so slightly.
Armenian Rice Pilaf
1Tbl. olive oil (or butter)
1/3 cup spaghetti, broken in 1″ pieces (Spaghetti comes pre-cut, or orzo would work well, too)
1 cup rice
1 tsp. kosher salt, or more, to taste
2 1/2 cups water (or use broth and reduce the salt by half–so far, I have only made this recipe with water)
1/4 tsp. Hawaijj (or turmeric and a pinch of black pepper)
1/4 tsp. turmeric (optional, depending on how yellow you like your rice)
Saute the pasta until golden, and add the rice, cooking for another minute or so. Add water and salt (or broth and salt as needed) and bring to a boil. Simmer on low, covered, for 20-25 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Tip: This recipe will go a bit faster if you boil the broth/water in another pot while you saute the pasta.
(Note: I want to try Nancy’s Boerag next)
I have served this as a side dish and also as a main dish by adding chick peas. This would be nice with lentils, as well.
The recipe can be doubled.
Update: Pereg sells Hawaij.