The other day, as my husband and I were out for an evening walk with our pup, the topic of Rice-A-Roni, that boxed mix of rice, pasta, and "seasonings." came up in conversation. I don't even remember how it came up, to be honest, but it did, and before I knew what was happening we were both singing the jingle. Out loud. On the street. Yep, we're dorks. But c'mon... you're singing it in your head right now too, aren't you?
Anyhoo, that little musical interlude got me thinking about how much I actually do enjoy Rice-A-Roni, which got me thinking about making some Rice-A-Roni, which, of course, got me trying to figure out how to ABOG-ify it and make it a little more healthy by using brown rice and whole wheat orzo. It took a few tries, but I'm happy to present the following little recipe I'm just going to call Homemade Brown Rice-A-Roni. I should probably come up with a different name, but, well, I couldn't think of one. So here we are.
This recipe uses my One in a Bouillon blend, which is pretty much my secret weapon for any rice dish. Mixed with water, it tastes just like chicken broth but is vegan and salt- and preservative-free. It's magical, and it's an amazing item to have on hand for when you don't have any chicken or vegetable broth. Ok, sales pitch over. Let's get to the recipe, shall we?
Homemade Brown Rice-A-Roni
Makes 6-8 servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole wheat orzo pasta
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
3 cups water
3 teaspoons One in a Bouillon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a Rice Cooker: Turn your rice cooker on to the "Keep Warm" setting. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the orzo and toast it lightly in the melted butter. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, close the lid, and switch the rice cooker to the "Brown Rice" setting. Fluff and serve.
On the Stove: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and toast it lightly in the melted butter. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, bring to a low boil, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook 45 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to rest, covered, an additional 10 minutes. Fluff and serve.