It's been a few weeks since I've shared a Famous Friday edition with you and I can't think of a better return than highlighting Julia Turshen's Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs with you and this unique take on Rice Pilaf that is currently now one of the dishes over which I am now bemoaning my current oven-less status! Rice-A Roni-move over! One taste and you'll wonder how you ever got along without this homemade roasted red cabbage filled version!
If cooking often seems a mystery to you and you love to not only find new down-to-earth recipes but humorous, feel-good anecdotes about those recipes plus indispensable little cooking tips, you will love this cookbook. It's filled with all sorts of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, parties etc that range the gamut from classic to newfangled. The whole concept behind the book is not to stress out about cooking but to find "small victories" in the kitchen that make the whole process easier, more enjoyable and of course, tastier. For example, for this rice pilar recipe the two small victories are 1) placing the spaghetti in a sealed ziplock bag so that little bits don't go flying everywhere when you break it up, saving yourself a nasty cleanup and 2) roasting red cabbage which is not only kinda unique (though I roast veggies all the time, I've never thought to do it with cabbage, have you?) but also gives the pilaf a deepened, slow-cooked flavor with barely any effort on your part. A win-win for everyone involved (aka a small victory).
Speaking of the cabbage, after you shred it, there's barely any work on your part--the oven does all of that, so that what you wind up with are crunchy, crispy, caramelized little purple-y shards that you'll be hard pressed not to nibble on--but try to restrain yourself because they add so much crunch and color to the rice/pasta combo. Yum!
Even if you make the most boring entrée in the world, people will remember this as a special meal--that's how amazingly delicious this pilaf is and that by the way, is why it won out over all the other recipes that I've cooked from this terrific book. I mean, normally you don't think of pilaf as particularly noteworthy, but this one is! Try it this weekend and let me know what you think. Also, invite me over because I'm craving this SO MUCH right now!!
So whether you're new to cooking or an accomplished chef, I promise you will LOVE this cookbook--pick up a copy and have fun cooking your way through. I know I will, as soon as cooking becomes a non-hot plate experience around here again. No really great photos to share on the kitchen reno today but the old windows are out!! Yippee! More to come next week. Have a good one!!
Small Victories' Best Rice Pilaf with Roasted Red Cabbage-Famous Fridays
Makes 6 servings
Prep Time: About 30 minutes to roast the cabbage; another 30 minutes or so to put the pilaf together
- 4 cups finely shredded red cabbage (I used an entire medium sized cabbage--it's ok if you have extra and even if you don't use it in the recipe, it's great to snack on)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup broken up pieces of spaghetti or angel hair pasta
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 1 3/4 cup water or chicken stock
- A piece of paper towel
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cabbage on the sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Use your hands to toss it all together and spread it out evenly. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the cabbage is all shriveled up, crispy and almost burned looking. Set aside.
2. Place the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and melt. Add in the pasta and rice and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the pasta turns golden brown and the rice starts to look opaque. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the stock or water and bring the mixture to a boil. Then lower the heat to low, cover the pan and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is beginning to get tender. Remove from the heat.
3. Place a piece of paper towel between the pan and the lid and let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the paper towel to absorb the moisture from the rice and allow the rice to become fluffier. Then use a fork to fluff up the rice, add the roasted cabbage, stir it all together and serve.
Note: Recipe adapted from Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs by Julia Turshen