While my early years I didn't wasn't served rice and pasta side dishes at home, in my teens it did become more popular - mostly Uncle Ben's converted rice or Minute Rice. My kids have had a lot more rice, especially when I made began to make stir fry dinners, but I was struggling to find a rice dish to serve with meat at family dinners that hit the mark. I tried a recipe here and there with not a lot of positive response. Light fluffy rice seemed to get cold on the plate very quickly. It's also a bit hard to eat with a fork.After exploring a way to make non-traditional Paella that would suit my family's tastes - see recipe HERE - I became intrigued by Italian Arborio Rice. This short, round grain is used quite a bit in creamy risottos. I do like risotto, but had no intention of standing over a stove stirring and stirring while adding small amounts of water, especially as company walked in the door. But the wetter, starchier nature of dishes created with Arborio rice meant they would not only hold heat better, but would be a little easier to eat.
- - - -
Lemon Saffron Rice With Chives
Serves 6-8 depending on serving size
3 Large shallots, thinly sliced
Pinch (generous) of saffron threads
2 C Arborio (Italian) rice
4 C Low-salt chicken broth
4 T Fresh lemon juice
3 T Finely Grated Lemon Rind (about 2 large lemons)
1 Large bunch chives, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Salt and freshly cracked white pepper
Melt butter in heavy, large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and saffron and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice and stir to coat. Add stock and lemon juice; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, stir and cover. Let simmer until creamy and tender, stirring vigorously every 10 minutes, 20 to 25 minutes. Add lemon peel and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Stir vigorously until well combined.