"Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat"... I can still hear that old jingle in my head followed by the trolly car bell 'ding'. In the past, I always ate this dish from the box (like most Americans). But as I grew up, I would occasionally find myself cooking dinner on one of those "a few more days till pay day" nights, and wanting a tasty side dish. But I was out of a few pre-packaged things. So I figured out how to make a pretty good rice-a-roni side dish, with just a few common ingredients most people have in their kitchen. Hopefully you will find this helpful too on a night when you don't want to make a trip to the store just for a box of it... I've also had "thank you" emails from people who are living and working outside the USA, where they cannot buy Rice-A-Roni in a store, and they miss it sooo much, so that may be another reason for learning to make it yourself. Or just for the bragging rights, lol. I used chicken bouillon for this recipe. But you can use beef, pork, or vegetable-flavored. You can also use broth instead of the water bouillon mix. Maybe add some extra salt. This recipe makes about as much as a regular box of Rice-A-Roni.
Melissa's Homemade Rice-A-Roni
1/4 cup Uncooked angel hair spaghetti pasta, broken up in 1/2-inch pieces(break it in small batches)
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 cups hot water
2 cubes of Maggi chicken or beef bouillon-- the soft, crumbly kind with the larger 1” x ½ inch cubes-- or just substitute the 4 cups of water and bouillon with 4 cups of broth (you can also use a packet of "beefy onion soup mix", its amazing!).
1. Start by pinching out very small batches of the pasta, and breaking it into little half-inch bits. Drop them into a measuring cup until you have 1/4 cup.
2. Measure out 3/4 cup of uncooked rice. Combine in a bowl with the pasta bits, and mix until blended well.
3. Crumble and melt your bullion cubes into the 2 cups hot water, stirring to dissolve well. Set aside.
4. In a large skillet with a well-fitting lid, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter/margarine and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil together (oil keeps butter from burning).
5. Raise to medium-high heat. Dump in pasta/rice blend. Stir to coat the rice in the oil/butter mixture. You don’t want any pieces to be dry.
6. Spread rice out evenly over bottom of pan, so as much of the pasta gets heat exposure as possible. Cook on medium high, stirring 20 seconds or so, until the pasta begins to turn golden brown. Stirring will rotate the pasta so it will all get a chance to brown, and prevent burning.
7. Pour in your hot water/bullion mixture and blend well with the rice. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Leave rice alone for 20 minutes. DO NOT lift the lid. Come back and check to see if it is done, by tasting some from the center. Tilt the pan-- if there is still leftover water, or rice is not yet done, cover and let it finish cooking.
8. Remove from heat, uncover and let stand 5 minutes.
Serve hot as a side dish.