Tuesday, April 21, 2009

simple sides :: tomato pilaf

Tomato rice is not exactly an unique side dish; I realize this. However my take on it tonight made an excellent compliment to a breaded tilapia, so I thought I would share it with you.

I keep a bag of vermicelli broken into very small bits, and use it when I occasionally make rice pilaf - a homemade, and way better, version of the San Fransisco treat.

Tomato rice pilaf
serves 6
  1. In 1 tb of melted butter and 1 tb of olive oil, saute 1/2 cup broken vermicelli (or capellini) bits.
  2. Add two shallots finely diced. (You could leave this out if you were looking for steps to skip.) Saute until transparent.
  3. When pasta has darkened and is golden brown, add 1 1/2 cup rice. Saute until rice begins to brown lightly. Don't walk away while doing this.
  4. Add 1/3 cup tomato paste. Stir until coated.
  5. Add one clove of finely grated garlic, 1 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp kosher salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
  6. Pour 3 cups of liquid over pasta and rice. You could use water (season it well) or stock or a combination of both.
  7. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Keep an eye on this. Contrary to popular belief it's okay to open the lid of rice briefly. Boil it for 15 minutes and then taste the rice. At this point you might need to add a bit more liquid, depending on the size of the grain of rice.

If you are in the mood for something a little spicier, add a few dashes of hot sauce or chopped jalapeno.

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