A friend’s plans to host a hands-on dinner party set us to brainstorming. What entrée would feed a group while allowing everyone an opportunity to pitch in?
Risotto, I replied. It needs a lot of stirring and as long as you have plenty of appetizers and beverages, it makes for an enjoyable evening in the kitchen among friends that doesn’t entail too much effort by any one person.
But what if the consensus was something a bit easier on the arms and wrists? I ran across this rice pilaf recipe that would fill the bill, coming together much more quickly. It uses two of my favorite spring vegetables — leeks and asparagus — for risotto. And with protein from edamame and pistachios, it has enough heft as a main dish. Substituting olive or coconut oil for the butter would suit it to my vegan friend and others in her group.
Spring Green Pilaf
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
4 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, light-green portions thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon garam masala
Salt, to taste
16 ounces vegetable stock
1 cup shelled edamame, defrosted if frozen
12 ounces asparagus, sliced into 1 1/2 inches
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and salted
Small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
In a bowl, rinse the rice and cover with cold water.
Melt the butter in a pot over a medium heat. Once it begins foaming, add the leeks and cook for 8 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, garam masala and salt, and stir for 2 more minutes.
Drain rice, add it to leeks and stir to coat in butter. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the edamame and asparagus. Add the chili powder and salt; stir gently. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to steam for 10 minutes.
Toast the pistachios in a pan. Turn off heat and add the dill; stir for 2 minutes. Scatter nuts and dill on top of rice. Makes 6 servings.
— Recipe adapted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from “Posh Rice” by Emily Kydd.