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Armenian Rice Pilaf

This recipe was passed to Lois Del Domenico by Pailadzo Captanian (a survivor of the Armenian genocide of the 1940s). Lois, and her husband Tom, were the founders of the Golden Grain Macaroni Company. The company began commercially producing the pilaf under the name Rice-a-Roni the “San Francisco Treat” as a side dish to compete with Kraft’s Macaroni & Cheese. You can use the boxed version if desired, but I much prefer the from-scratch version.

1 cup long-grain white rice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup thin pasta *

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh, minced parsley (optional)

*NOTE: this should be very thin pasta often labeled vermicelli, much smaller than spaghetti

Cover the rice with hot tap water, and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and discard soaking water. Crush the pasta into small pieces. Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan add the pasta and cook until golden brown, stirring often (4-6 minutes). Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the edges of the grains become translucent. Add stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the moisture is adsorbed. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and cove with a dishtowel, replace the lid, and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice. Add the parsley if desired and stir to mix.


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