Asparagus Pilaf

asparagus

 

Last night we had pork chops for dinner, and since I wanted something nice and light to go with it, I decided to make a little pilaf with some summer flavours!  This dish can be served hot or cold, and can be served plain or topped with a little balsamic vinegar or even (shudder) soy sauce.

  • 1/4 C Butter   (Yes, butter — “Butter is Better”.  Always)
  • 2 C Brown Rice
  • 3 C Boiling Water (or even better, if you have it – chicken or vegetable stock!)
  • 12 Asparagus Stalks
  • 1 Tbsp Basil (dried), or 4 leaves of fresh basil, chopped as fine as you can
  • 1 tsp Salt

1) Slice the asparagus nice and thin – you want the asparagus ‘discs’ to be about the thickness of almond slivers.  Once you get to the “bushy” part at the top, leave those whole, and gather them up with all the sliced asparagus.

2)In a nice and hot sautee pan, melt a little butter (about 1 Tbsp), then add the asparagus and salt.  Keep the pan moving as you sautee the asparagus – you don’t want to cook it down, but you do want to see a little colour starting to happen – should take about 2-5 minutes, tops.

3)Add the remaining butter to the pan, let it melt, then pour in the dried rice and stir it up in the melted butter and asparagus until all the grains have a nice buttery sheen to them.

4)Add in the basil, then the boiling water/stock, give one final stir, then cover the dish with a tight lid or aluminum foil, and place in an oven** set to 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Be careful taking off the lid, as you’ll get a face full of hot steam, but the rice should be beautifully tender.

** Please be sure your pan is oven-safe, including the handle.  If not, transfer the food into an oven-safe container before covering and placing in the oven

If I were to do this dish again, there are 2 changes I would probably make (depending on who I was cooking for)  First, I would probably add some almond slivers at the same time as the boiling water, just to give a bit of crunch to the dish – extra textures can make the food come alive.  Secondly, after sauteeing the asparagus, a little (1/8 C) white wine (something dry) to splash into the pan to ‘deglaze’ it would add a nice additional flavour.

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