Sneak Preview: Make this Cheesy Rice Pilaf Recipe with long-grain rice, yellow bell peppers, parsley, peas, and cheese the next time your meal needs some interest, color, and good taste.
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Sharing a good recipe can make a person immortal–especially if the giver’s name is added to the recipe’s title. Do you agree?
I have never understood people who resist sharing their recipes (unless they run a restaurant or make money with them). Not only the recipe but any added notes can stimulate fading memories.
Whenever I make this colorful cheesy rice recipe, I think of the friend who gave it to me.
Happy Cooks Speak Up:
Love this recipe, I made it as written twice LOVED it and since have modified to fit my mood and what I have on hand. The method is spot on and I make a perfect rice side every time I use it, which has been many times. Thank you! —Liz
I staged a giveaway some time ago and asked my readers to tell me their favorite way to eat rice.
I got several good ideas from a long-time friend, Beth, including this recipe. Every time I make it, I think of her even though I haven’t seen her in ages.
Sharing a good recipe can possibly make a person immortal–especially if the giver’s name is added to the recipe’s title.
Turns out this cheese and rice recipe originated with Emeril Lagasse. I’ve made a few minor tweaks.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- RICE: Extra-long rice by Mahatma is my first choice, but any long-grain rice is good. You could also substitute basmati or jasmine if you prefer. If you’re not a rice lover, try it with quinoa.
- ONIONS: Yellow onions work perfectly, but white onions are fine, too.
- BELL PEPPERS: The recipe calls for yellow bell peppers. The color makes them blend in with the cheese. Red or orange peppers will change the look but not the flavor. Using green bell peppers will add a slightly bitter flavor profile.
- CHICKEN BROTH: Homemade stock is the best but certainly not a necessity. Substitute canned chicken broth if it’s more convenient, or use a bouillon cube or powder to make broth.
- BAY LEAF: You might be tempted to leave this one out, but it adds many wonderful flavors. According to tastingtable.com, “the closest match to the herb is a mixture of dried thyme and oregano; a quarter teaspoon per leaf gets the job done.”
- PEAS: Unless you have fresh peas, frozen peas are my first, second, and third choice. Otherwise, leave them out.
- CHEESE: My friend uses Fontina, but Gruyere and Mozzarella (a cheaper option) would make good substitutes. Although I doubt if you would have clicked on this recipe if you don’t like cheese, you could leave it out.
- PARSLEY: Fresh parsley will always be better than dried parsley unless it’s the middle of the winter and you’re snowed in. Fresh cilantro is another option.
How to make this colorful Cheesy Rice:
FAQ about Cheesy Rice Pilaf:
Yes, you can make this earlier in the day. If you want to prepare this recipe the day before, leave out the cheese and parsley.
Just before serving, reheat the dish in the microwave. Fluff the rice, then stir in the cheese and parsley. Let it sit until the cheese melts.
Prepare the recipe through step 4. Remove the bay leaf. Wrap well and freeze for up to one month. Thaw before serving.
Reheat in the microwave until piping hot. Fluff the rice and mix in the cheese and parsley. Put the lid on until the cheese melts, and serve immediately.
Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.
Easy Cheesy Rice Pilaf
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (80 g) finely-chopped yellow onions
- ½ cup (75 g) finely-chopped yellow, orange, or red bell peppers
- 1 cup (185 g) extra-long-grain rice
- 1 teaspoon table or sea salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 ¼ cups (529 g) chicken broth
- ½ cup (73 g) frozen peas
- 8 ounces (227 g) Fontina cheese – Sub Gruyere, or Mozzarella cheese, diced or grated
- ⅛ cup (8 g) chopped fresh parsley
- Melt 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter on medium-high heat in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add 1/2 cup (80 g) finely-chopped yellow onions and 1/2 cup (75 g) finely-chopped yellow, orange, or red bell peppers. Sautè until soft, but don’t let them brown, about 4 minutes.
- Add 1 cup (185 g) extra-long-grain rice, 1 teaspoon table or sea salt, and 1 bay leaf to the onions and bell peppers. Cook 1 minute.
- Stir in 2 1/4 cups (529 g) chicken broth(I use reconstituted chicken bouillon. Cover and simmer on low until the rice is soft and tender, usually about 15-20 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup (73 g) frozen peas. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes or until you don’t see any liquid in the rice. Remove from the heat and sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf, and use a spoon or a fork to fluff the rice before adding 8 ounces (227 g) Fontina cheese and 1/8 cup (8 g) chopped fresh parsley. Add some freshly ground pepper if desired.