Homemade Rice and “Roni’s”

Something I’ve been interested in lately is trying to eat less preservatives and use more fresh ingredients.

Tonight, for dinner, I was thinking of making a simple risotto, but the 90 degree heat was a little bit off-putting :)

With a little bit of inspiration, I hit upon the idea of making a homemade version of Rice-A-Roni. Being more of a baker, I’m still getting used to the idea of making meals from scratch and tend to come up with some interesting combinations that don’t always work out (think: potato and cheddar pizza), so I was very pleasantly surprised by how delicious and easy this was.

This is what I came up with:

Ingredients:

  • .5 lb of Capellini or Angel Hair macaroni, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup of Arborio Rice
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock (storebought is fine!)
  • small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • sprig of fresh thyme (substitute 1/8 tsp dry if needed)
  • Seasonings to taste: I used Greektown Billy Goat, see below
  • black pepper
Greektown Billygoat is a blend from The Spice House and consists of  salt, granulated garlic powder, Tellicherry black pepper, onion powder, Greek fancy oregano and powdered lemon peel. It’s really a wonderful blend and it’s amazing on chicken, fish and potatoes. I’m sure you could substitute one or all of those spices in my particular recipe though. 
Method:

In a wide, heavy pan, melt the butter and gently sweat the onions – cook until they are nearly translucent, then add the broken pieces of macaroni. Saute over low heat, stirring frequently, until the macaroni begins to turn golden. Add the rice, and cook another 5 minutes over low heat, until both macaroni and rice are light brown.

Slowly add two cups of broth and stir, adding in the chopped parsley and the thyme. (Remove fresh thyme from the stem by holding it upside down, and drawing your fingers firmly down the stem, this will cleanly remove all of the leaves). Stir well, and cover. Keep a close eye on it – stir frequently, and add more broth as it dries, but don’t make soup! Keep adding broth until the rice is soft, and cook until all liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and add seasonings, to taste. I used about a teaspoon of the Billy Goat and an eighth of a teaspoon of pepper. Chicken stock is typically salty, so this requires a lot of tasting to be sure you don’t oversalt!

Serve warm and enjoy – this makes about 8 portions.

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