Category:  Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains)

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Dill & Fava Rice (Vegan)

In Fun Foods, Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On September 7, 2023 0 Comments


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes (boil rice) and 15-20 minutes (cook rice with dill)
Serves: 6 to 8

Here’s my favorite Persian-inspired rice recipe – I love it because of the rich aroma emanating from the dill weed as it cooks. The fava beans and saffron add such rich flavors to this beautiful side dish!

2 cups basmati rice (rinsed 3 to 4 times in cold water & drained)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Persian saffron threads
2 cups frozen fava beans (also called, broad beans)
2 cups chopped fresh dill weed
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably safflower or sunflower oil)

Directions for Boiling Rice & Fava Beans:

1. Place the washed and drained rice in an 8-cup saucepot; add 6 cups cold water.

2. Cover the saucepot and bring rice to a boil; uncover and add 2 teaspoons salt.

3. Cook the rice for 6 minutes.

4. After 6 minutes, taste the rice (it should be al dente or crunchy-tender. If it’s still too hard, cook rice for 1 to 2 more minutes.

5. Using a large, fine-meshed colander, drain the rice.

6. Rinse the rice once under cold water; set the rice in colander over a bowl to drain & cool.

Assembling the Rice with Dill & Fava Beans:

1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepot or kettle, boil 1 cup of water.

2. Transfer boiled water to a pyrex or stainless steel bowl & mix with saffron threads.

3. Set water & saffron aside; the water will look dark yellow or orange.

4. When water has turned dark yellow or orange from the saffron, strain the water into a separate Pyrex or stainless steel bowl.

5. Gently transfer about 1 cup of the cooked & drained rice to the bowl with saffron water; set aside.

6. In a 12-inch, nonstick skillet, add 1/4 cup vegetable oil.

7. Gently spread about 1/3 of the boiled rice evenly over oil at bottom of skillet.

8. Follow with 1/2 of amount of fava beans and 1/2 of amount of chopped dill weed.

9. Continue assembling 1/3 layer of rice, followed by remaining fava beans and dill weed, as above.

10. The rice mound should end with the remaining 1/3 of white rice at the top.

11. Drain the saffron rice and scatter it evenly over the white rice at top of mound.

Finishing the Dill & Fava Rice:

1. Cover the rice in skillet and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

2. After 15 minutes, using a flat spatula, check bottom of rice. If it is does not look golden brown yet, cook rice on medium-low heat for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Using the spatula, check bottom of rice once more – it should be golden brown.

4. Using a large ladle, scoop rice onto a serving platter; set crispy rice bottom separately on another platter.

5. Serve Dill & Fava Rice immediately as a side dish to meat, poultry, fish or as part of a vegetarian feast!
Text & Photograph ©2023 Nancy DeLucia Real

Shrimp & Saffron Risotto

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On April 4, 2023 0 Comments


It doesn’t get any easier than this – make a delicious Shrimp & Saffron Risotto with few ingredients! Don’t forget to pair it with chilled Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc wine. Buon appetito!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallot
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice, rinsed in cold water & drained
1 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 to 2 quarts (6 to 8 cups) chicken broth
0.0070 oz. (0.100 grams) ground saffron (about 1/8 teaspoon)
16 large or jumbo shrimp, raw, shelled & deveined

1. In an 8-quart sauce pot, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot (but does not smoke), add the minced shallot;

3. Using a wooden spoon, stir-fry on medium heat until shallot is clear.

4. Stir in the rice; stir until uniform.

5. Add 1 cup white wine to rice mixture; stir on medium-low heat until it has almost dried out.

6. Next, add one ladle of the chicken broth; stir continuously until liquid is almost all absorbed (spoon should leave a path at bottom of pot).

7. Stir in the saffron.

8. Continue adding chicken broth, one ladle at a time, stirring continuously, until rice has almost cooked through.

9. At this point, add the shrimp; stir continuously until rice has cooked through (do not overcook shrimp or it will have a tough texture).

10. Add salt, to taste; serve risotto in individual bowls.

11. Top each bowl with 4 shrimp and 1 sprig of basil or parsley.
Wine Pairing: Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc).
Text & Photograph ©2023 Nancy DeLucia Real

Lemon & Shrimp Spaghetti

In Fish & Shellfish, Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On January 9, 2023 0 Comments


Now that we’re past the holidays, it’s time for some Italian comfort food. How about this delicious pasta dish – Lemon & Shrimp Spaghetti? It’ll hit the spot – Buon appetito!

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Makes: 4 servings


1 pound (16 ounces) dried spaghetti or other long, thin pasta
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
1 large lemon (juice and zest)
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Bring a 4 to 6-quart pot of water to a boil.
2. When water boils, add spaghetti or other long pasta and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt.
3. Boil the pasta 8 to 10 minutes or until it is “al dente” (crunchy tender).
4. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil.
5. When oil is hot but not smoking, add the chopped garlic and quickly stir-fry – do not let garlic blacken.
6. Next, adjust heat to medium-low; add the cream and bring sauce to a simmer.
7. As cream thickens, use a drinking cup with a handle to take 1 cup of pasta water out of pot.
8. Stir 1/2 cup of the  pasta water into cream sauce; bring the sauce to a simmer (this is a light, rolling boil).
9. Add shrimp, lemon juice and zest; cook until shrimp looks pink and is cooked through (about 3-4 minutes).
10. After 3 – 4 minutes, taste one shrimp to check doneness. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
11. Immediately season with salt & black pepper, to taste.
12. Set skillet on very low heat while you drain pasta.
13, Add drained pasta to shrimp sauce and toss with tongs.
14. If pasta looks too dry, add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup pasta water to shrimp sauce. Toss again.
15. Divide lemon shrimp spaghetti among four bowls.
16. Garnish with parsley & serve immediately.
Wine Pairing: Vermentino or Chardonnay (both are whites).
Text & Photograph ©2022 Nancy DeLucia Real

Brown Rice Confetti Salad

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains), Salads On May 5, 2020 1 Comment


This salad is delicious as a side or as a buffet dish for any celebration. Make it for Mother’s Day – they’ll love it!

Prep time: 15 minutes (to assemble ingredients)
Makes: 3 to 4 cups

1-1/2 cups cooked, brown rice
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled & finely shredded
2/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup chopped, fresh chives
5 to 6 fresh mint leaves, slivered
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
salt & ground black pepper, to taste
Dash cumin

1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. If rice has excess liquid after cooking, drain and discard the liquid.

3. Transfer the rice to a 4-quart glass or porcelain bowl & stir in the olive oil.

4. Let rice cool to room temperature.

5. When rice is at room temperature, stir in remaining ingredients; toss, taste & adjust seasonings.

6. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap & serve later in the day.

7. Brown Rice Confetti Salad can be made early in the morning. Any leftovers will keep, refrigerated, up to 3 days.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On February 28, 2019 0 Comments

In Italian, cacio e pepe mean cheese and black pepper. This term also stands for a type of pasta from Roman cuisine. Spaghetti cacio e pepe is made by Italians all over Italy because it is made quickly and with few ingredients. Personally, I enjoy this dish at home because it tastes better than in most restaurants and it’s a lot cheaper. Try making this yourself – you’ll love it!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

1 pound (16 ounces) spaghetti (you can also use another pasta variety)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (the sharp, imported Locatelli variety, preferred)
1/4 cup minced, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley (garnish)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Bring a 6 to 8-quart pot of water to a boil.

2. Add spaghetti and cook for 10 minutes, or until it is al dente (crunchy-tender).

3. When spaghetti has cooked about 6 minutes, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet. DO NOT LET IT SMOKE.

4. When oil is hot, stir in the garlic and black pepper and fry until the garlic is barely tender – DO NOT LET IT BROWN.

5. Transfer the skillet with garlic-pepper mixture to a cold burner.

6. Meanwhile, reserve about 3/4 cup boiling liquid from spaghetti.

7. Heat the garlic pepper mixture in skillet and drain the spaghetti.

8. Immediately add drained spaghetti to skillet and toss over high heat.

9. Stir in some of the boiling liquid – it should thicken the spaghetti mixture.

10. Immediately stir in the cheese and toss spaghetti until it is evenly-coated.

11. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with minced parsley. Ask guests to add red pepper flakes, if desired.

Wine Pairing: Chilled Fiano di Avellino (Italian white wine), Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real