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Old 08-18-2010, 08:03 AM   #21
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Claire - HAHA! I grew up eating countless boxes of Rice-a-Roni. It was one of my favorite things to eat as a child. I remember arguing with people that they needed to brown it longer. Adults always seemed to get nervous it would burn...

Of course now I make my own, but I love when I eat over someone's house and they serve up Rice-a-Roni... sort of a nostalgic experience. Unfortunately most people I know that go for the box purchase the Near East brand products. I used to love the beef flavored Rice-a-Roni with homemade Salisbury Steaks...
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:06 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Mr_Dove View Post
I spent some time in South America a number of years back. They have a cooking practice that I never quite understood because we don't do it here in the US.

When cooking rice or pasta they brown it in a pan with some oil before adding it to the water for boiling.

Is there a reason to do this? Could it have something to do with the way food in South America is produced? Maybe its different than what we get in the US...?
Strange thing!
Nevermind I think it's about the taste...I work in an italian restaurant and if a chief does something like that can loose his job in few minutes!
But it's a tradition or a way of cooking so i respect!
At home I will try!
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:19 AM   #23
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I work in an italian restaurant and if a chief does something like that can loose his job in few minutes!
How does he make Risotto then? once of the first steps in making risotto is to brown the rice in oil.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:31 AM   #24
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How does he make Risotto then? once of the first steps in making risotto is to brown the rice in oil.
Risotto recipes I've seen call for coating the rice with the oil/butter but not to brown it. One recipe I've used specifically tells you the onion and rice should not be cooked to the point adding color.

When I make pilaf, I brown the pasta in butter until both the butter and the pasta are brown, then I add the rice and stir to coat followed by the broth.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:32 AM   #25
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Yes, I guess you are right Andy. Guess I should read what I post more carefully when I post first thing in the morning Thanks for catching that.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:43 AM   #26
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When I make pilaf I melt the butter over medium heat, and then add the rice and pasta. Continuing over medium heat, the pasta browns, the rice "opens up" (but doesn't brown), and by this point the butter is also nice and nutty. Then I toss in the minced onion, which quickly sweats out from the loaded thermal mass of the pasta/rice. I give a splash of alcohol, add my stock, bring to a simmer, then cover and place in an oven to absorb the fluids.

My favorite way to finish it is with toasted nuts and thinly sliced scallions folded in a few minutes after it's out of the oven. Sometimes I'll add raisins or dried cranberries depending on what it's served with. Just on it's own, I often use brown rice.

Another favorite (and totally untraditional!) pairing is with Chicken or Veal Marsala. I use Marsala in the rice along with ground dried porcini.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:13 PM   #27
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They don't brown the pasta. They simply let the pasta absorb the seasoning of the oil and herbs before adding the liquid. It is the technique used in risotto:( I am omitting the ingredients and giving you just the directions)

Directions:
Keep the broth on simmer.

In a sauté pan, over medium-high heat, cook the diced onion with half of the butter and oil until translucent (If you want the marrow, add it now, and incorporate it well by smashing it).

Add rice, mixing with a wooden spoon until shiny (about one minute). Add wine and let it evaporate. Add one ladle of broth. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle boiling. When the rice has absorbed all the liquid, add another ladle, and so on, stirring occasionally uncovered. You are allowed to cheat, by adding two or more ladles at the beginning, most importantly is that you do not put a lid on it and that you do not add excessive liquid towards the end. All the liquid has to be absorbed. Taste it, the grain of rice has to be Al dente, (slightly undercooked). Adjust salt and pepper if necessary (depending if you have salted your stock or not). You may have some broth left, keep it for future use.

Take off the heat and incorporate the remaining butter and parmesan cheese, serve immediately, or the rice will overcook. This technique of adding liquid in steps will avoid overcooking the rice and will give the rice a distinctive flavor not found in boiled rice. The whole process should take about 45 minutes, less if you use white rice (Arborio).
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