Festive Saffron Pilaf

1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. saffron threads
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2 T. olive oil
1 T. garlic, minced
1 cup long-grain rice, rinsed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

Place the pine nuts on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven, transfer the toasted pine nuts to a small bowl, and set aside. In a small saucepan, place the vegetable stock, salt, pepper, and saffron, and bring to a simmer. In a medium saucepan, saute the onion and red pepper in olive oil for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and saute an additional 1 minute.

Add the rice, stir well so that the grains of rice are thoroughly coated with the olive oil, and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until the rice is translucent. Add the simmering broth to the rice mixture and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, leave covered, and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the rice to steam. Fluff the rice with a fork. Add the toasted pine nuts, peas, and parsley, and gently stir them into the rice. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Transfer to a bowl or platter for service.

*Note: If you are unable to obtain saffron threads, substitute 1/4 t. turmeric for the saffron threads in the recipe, to achieve the same golden color in the pilaf.

Serves 4


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