Rice Pilaf

I love rice. Maybe it's the virtually endless varieties to choose from - about 40,000 according to the Rice Gourmet and "over 90,000 samples of cultivated rice and wild species are stored at the International Rice Gene Bank" according to The Rice Association. Maybe it's that rice lends itself to adding other things to it. Or maybe it's just that it's easy and satisfying. Whatever the reason, I am drawn to rice and stock quite a few varieties.

(Interested in what I stock and how to turn it into dinner? Come to my What's For Dinner? class on 5/2! Contact me for details.)

Here's an easy rice recipe that will let you sneak a few more vegetables into your (or your kids') diets.

Confetti Rice
Serves 8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups rice, rinsed
6 cups chicken stock, or water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 whole garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
extra virgin olive oil, to taste (or butter)
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high; add rice and toast for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock (or water), cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook just under the time specified on the rice package. Using a fork, test rice to see if it is cooked - when done, drain remaining water. While rice is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and red pepper and cook until tender crisp, about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Deglaze pan with white wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside. Add cooked rice to the vegetable mixture over medium heat just to combine and heat through. Add additional olive oil or butter and salt and pepper to taste.

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