‘Never-Fail, Always Delicious’ Armenian Rice Pilaf

Update – – Yes – rice IS gluten free !!    As are pine nuts (pinola nuts) !!

I found this delicious recipe for Armenian Rice Pilaf many, many years ago in the Providence Journal when we lived in Rhode Island – and it’s been a BIG favorite with my family and guests ever since.

As the title suggests, this Rice Pilaf comes out perfectly every single time.  I think there’s two secrets as to why – hot broth is added to browned-in-butter rice, pine nuts and a bit of angel hair pasta .  The other ‘secret’ is, after the rice pilaf is fully cooked, the pan is taken off the heat, and paper towel is placed over the uncovered pan for 10 minutes, resulting in fluffy, buttery rice pilaf ‘to die for’ !!

Moroccan Chicken - - myyellowfarmhous.com

Follow this to Moroccan Chicken Tangine.     https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2015/02/03/moroccan-chicken-tangine-with-sweet-potatoes/

INGREDIENTS & METHOD       Serves 4 – 6     Can be prepared ahead.

  • 1/2 stick butter  (4 Tbs.)
  • 1/2 cup crushed angel hair pasta     ++  Regular spaghetti is fine
  • 1/3 cup pine (pignoli) nuts
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth –  OR  –  2 1/2 cups boiling water and 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • Recipe does not call for salt – there’s already salt in the chicken broth.  If you wish, you may add some salt and pepper. 

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup crushed angel hair pasta and 1/3 cup pine (pignoli) nuts.  Slowly stir until golden.    ++  The butter may foam up – that’s totally fine!

++ Watch carefully, you don’t want to burn the pasta and pine nuts!

Armenian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pine Nuts - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Armenian Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pne Nuts - - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

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Add 1 cup rice – stir until thoroughly coated with butter.

Add 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth  – OR  – 2 1/2 boiling water and 1 bouillon cube.  Stir quickly with a fork – cover pan and lower heat.

Armenian Rice Pilaf - - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until all broth is absorbed and rice is fully cooked.  ++  If, by chance, rice is still a bit hard after 20 minutes  –  add a bit more hot water to pan and continue cooking a few more minutes.

Once rice is fully cooked, remove pan from heat.  Gently fluff rice with a fork.  Cover with paper towel for 10 minutes, which absorbs any extra moisture so the rice pilaf is extra fluffy.  ++  Be sure paper towel isn’t near a heat source!

After 10 minutes, fluff rice again with fork and serve.  Enjoy !!

++  Recipe can easily be doubled.
++ I often prepare a double batch of Armenian Rice Pilaf early the day of a party and store it (covered) in the fridge.  When I’m ready to serve, I add just a tiny bit of warm water and rewarm the rice, covered with waxed paper or plastic wrap, in the microwave.

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

18 thoughts on “‘Never-Fail, Always Delicious’ Armenian Rice Pilaf

  1. Actually my mother was a WASP from Indiana, Shirley Mae Hemphill. 😉

    When my father went home to tell my grandmother he had met the woman he wanted to marry, she was a little disappointed she wasn’t Armenian, but then she wanted to know what ethnicity she was. “Maw”, my father said, “she’s just American.” “So am I”, she replied, “is she Irish, like your brother’s girl, German, Italian, what?” “Maw, her ancestors came over on the Mayflower.” “So – I came over on the Hudson. What is she?”

    Grandma had a very no nonsense attitude. She told me that when the Armenians arrived on the East Coast, the town Armenians settled around Providence and Boston while the country Armenians went out to Fresno, California where they could establish farms. Of course, now their descendants are all over.

    She used to break the spaghetti pieces so they were about three times as long as the rice grains.

    Happy Turkey Day!

  2. Marti – thanks so very much for commenting. I’m happy you like this recipe. I found it years ago while living in Providence, Rhode Island. As you mentioned, you are of Armenian heritage – which I can tell by your former last name ending in ‘ian’. My uncle and his family also escaped the tragedy that befell Armenia by moving to the United States. His last name was Tashjian. ++ I was lucky enough to have visited Syria several years ago. I loved it so much and my heart is broken into bits by what is happening over there. ++ About the length of the spaghetti, perhaps the photo gives the wrong impression. I mention in the directions that the spaghetti should be ‘crushed’, so the actual length is pretty short. How long were the pieces of spaghetti when your mother used to make pilaf? It’s always good to have information from someone coming from the culture! ; o ) Thanks again for taking the time to comment!!

  3. Oh, by the way, she used regular spaghetti and broke the noodles to a size one forth the length you show in your picture. She was from Aleppo in Syria, and was a war refugee. Jes sayin’.

  4. With a maiden name of Magarian, you can bet that when thinking of traditional Thanksgiving sides, this is a must have. I wanted to post a pretty version for my friends and chose yours. My grandmother usually used walnuts, as they are not so expensive.

    • I somehow missed that you’d mentioned my blog and my recipe for Armenian Rice Pilaf waaay back in February. Thanks so much!! This recipe is getting a lot of ‘hits’ the last few days because, it seems, Rice Pilaf is a ‘must’ for many Armenian/American families for their Thanksgiving Day feast. ; o )

  5. I’m going to try this! I’m forever searching for truly good rice dishes to serve alongside meat and poultry. I’m sure it’s one that your family and friends come to expect on the table when they’re coming for dinner. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks my friend! And, you’re right – in fact, if I tell BOTH of my daughter-in-laws I’m going to make this rice, they’re both ‘all kinds of happy’ !! ; o ) (Can you believe the original recipe called for a whole stick of butter – and I used to just add all that butter… but it sure was YUMMY !!

    • I think that, often, there’s nothing like a good old family recipe, which I believe this was! (Of course, it not MY family’s recipe !!) If you like rice pilaf, you’ll like this recipe. Last night, when I took my first bite, I was thinking, “Damn, why don’t I make this more often?” One of my daughter-in-laws makes this almost once a week – and I make it for my other daughter-in-law ’cause she loves it so much!

    • I’m a celiac and was placed on a gluten free diet nearly 8 years ago. This pilaf recipe is NOT gluten free. The second listed ingredient is angle hair pasta. Pasta is made of wheat flour–wheat flour is gluten.

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