Rice and Noodle Pilaf

Makes 2 Quarts
This is one of my husband’s fall-back, always-works-for-him recipes. It rounds out any meal and makes a perfect breakfast with a fried egg on top. He learned it from his Armenian friend Rich from Fresno, California. Its secrets: Put in a lot of butter. Cook the onions and broken noodles longer than you might think necessary, until that nutty smell comes off them. Stir constantly. Keep the heat high. Build the flavor before adding the rice and liquid.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup dried vermicelli noodles, broken into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the butter, and as soon as the butter melts, add the onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the noodles, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, until the noodles are golden brown and the mixture gives off a nutty aroma, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the rice, stir to combine, and add the remaining tablespoon of butter.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth and salt. Raise the heat to high and bring to a full rolling boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice and vermicelli have absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and serve.
cook's note
Your Specialty
Even if you don’t plan to cook on a regular basis, choose one recipe that you love and perfect it. You’ll become famous for that one thing and you’ll have something to “pull out of your back pocket” when you need it. Maybe you can only make a kick-ass pan-fried steak, as on page 146? To please most guys, pancakes could be your only specialty, but you’ll be remembered for your weekend breakfasts. All you need is one dish, be it tuna melt, chicken soup, spaghetti and meatballs, an omelet, or apple pie.
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