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Rice and Pasta Pilaf with Crispy Shallots and Pistachios

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Rice and Pasta Pilaf with Crispy Shallots and Pistachios
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish / Source:  Cook's Illustrated #128, May/Jun 2014

1-1/2 cups basmati rice or long-grain white rice
3 shallots, sliced thin
1/2 cup olive oil
2 ounces vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1. Place rice in medium bowl and cover with hot tap water by 2 inches; let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Using your hands, gently swish grains to release excess starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Add cold tap water to rice and pour off water. Repeat adding and pouring off water 4 to 5 times, until water runs almost clear. Drain rice in fine-mesh strainer.
3. Place shallots and oil in large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until shallots are golden and crispy, 6 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towel-lined plate. Leave oil in pan.
4. Return pan to medium heat; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges of rice begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add broth, coriander, salt, and half of shallots and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Off heat, remove lid, fold dish towel in half, and place over pan; replace lid. Let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork and stir in mint, pistachios, and lemon juice. Serve, sprinkling rice with remaining shallots.

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