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Ravishing Rice


Published: 03/28/2013

by Roslyn Ralph

Rice is one of the most versatile grains around. It’s eaten the world over and is enjoyed in savoury

and sweet dishes, either as a side dish or as the main event. Some of the most common varieties
we find on grocery shelves are long-grain rice like basmati, jasmine and brown. The first two are

used in Indian and Thai cooking. Medium-grain rice, such as Arborio, is perfect for risotto and paella,

while short-grain rice is used in sushi.


Rice Pilaf

This Middle-Eastern-style dish makes a nice accompaniment to lamb or chicken.



2 Tbsp. butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup long-grain white rice

1/2 cup wild rice

3-1/2 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)

1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

1/2 cup dried currants

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste



Cook wild and white rice separately.
Prepare wild rice with 1-1/2 cups broth, according to the package directions.
In a saucepan, melt butter and sauté onion until translucent. Add uncooked
white rice and stir to coat. Stir in currants and allspice. Add remaining
broth, stir well and bring mixture to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover pan and
cook for 20 minutes or until broth is absorbed and rice is tender. Combine
white and wild rice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in mint and
almonds. Serves 8 as a side dish.


Risotto with Saffron

Risotto is a labour of love and requires patience and constant attention, but

the results are worth it.



1-1/2 cups Arborio rice

5 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. powdered saffron or

1 tsp. saffron threads

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp. butter

1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Ground pepper to taste



In a saucepan, bring broth to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for the duration of the cooking time.

Remove 1/2 cup of the broth, stir in saffron and reserve. Heat butter in a large saucepan.

Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Stir in rice to coat and cook for
2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add white wine, stirring until wine is
absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of hot broth and continue cooking, again stirring until
liquid is absorbed. Add saffron broth and continue to stir until absorbed.
Continue to cook rice, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time and stirring until
rice is cooked (about 25 minutes). Rice should be tender but firm and creamy,
not soupy. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and add pepper to taste. Serve
immediately. Serves 6 as a side dish.   


Variations on risotto

Once you’ve mastered the basic

technique for making risotto, you can add a variety of flavours. Try seafood risotto, using clam juice

and chicken broth, and stir in cooked shrimp and scallops when the rice is cooked.


If you want a vegetarian dish, use vegetable broth and add fresh peas, steamed asparagus or sautéed

mushrooms to the cooked rice. You can even substitute red wine for white to get a delightfully different result. 


Roslyn Ralph is Home Digest’s food editor.

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