I like everything about this wonderful dish: the taste, the color, the flavor.
Sweetness of the butternut and cranberries, rich bouquet of spices and sourness of the lemon juice and zest – all compliment more neutral taste of the rice creating a rich, aromatic and delicious plate palette.
Rice and Butternut Squash Pilaf is a perfect side dish or a vegetarian meal. It could be a bright and healthy addition to holiday feast. The good thing is that you can make pilaf in advance and just reheat it at the right time.
- 1 ½ cups of rice or a mixture of wild and white rice
- 1 large Spanish onion (8 oz), finely chopped
- 4-6 cloves of garlic, do not peel and remove only the thin upper layer
- 2 large carrots, grate coarse or use mandolin grater
- 300 g butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 cup green peas, preferably young (frozen is OK)
- ½ cup dry cranberries (optional)
- ¼ tsp saffron or ½ tsp turmeric
- ½-1 tsp sweet or hot paprika (to your taste)
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp marjoram
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ¼ tsp cumin
- Black ground pepper
- Zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 1/3 cup olive oil (or other oil)
Cook rice according to the manufacturing directions, or use a rice maker.
Pour ¼ cup of hot water over saffron.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan.
Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
Add garlic and cook until light golden brown for about 1 minute.
Add carrots. Cook 1-2 minutes.
Add pumpkin, spices, salt and black pepper. Cook over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Then lower the heat to medium-low and cook until pumpkin is ready for about 10-12 minutes. Pumpkin should be soft but still firm.
Add more olive oil, rice, green peas, cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice and saffron along with the liquid. Gently mix and reheat over medium-to-low heat for about 3-5 minutes. Adjust the amount of olive oil to taste.
Cooking time for pumpkin may vary a little depending on the type of pumpkin and the size of the cubes.
Cook with pleasure and enjoy the world!