From the wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_pilaf) entry for pilaf: “Pilaf … is a dish in which a grain, such as rice or cracked wheat, is browned in oil, and then cooked in a seasoned broth.”
So that stuff you get in a box, with rice and orzo, and a little packet of seasonings? Yeah, don’t use that. It’s all right in a pinch, but why do that when for just a little more time and effort, you could have something even tastier, and not full of weird chemicals?
1 small onion, small dice
1/4 to 1/2 stick butter (I said it was tasty, I never claimed it was healthy.)
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced (or 1/2 tsp of the pre-minced stuff from the jar)
2 cups long-grain rice
4 cups chicken broth
salt, pepper, oregano, thyme
Get your butter melted in a nice heavy saucepan. Add onion and saute until translucent.
Add rice, saute for about a minute. Don’t worry about browning it. Seriously. I never do.
Add stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add several pinches of salt (remember, less is better than too much), a bit of pepper, several pinches of oregano and thyme. Stir. Clap on a lid.
Simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is done (liquid is absorbed, rice doesn’t bite back). Stir occasionally.
Adjust seasonings according to taste.
Optional: “confetti” rice pilaf (this is pretty much how I ALWAYS make it)
Finely dice 1/2 green bell pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper, saute with the onion (you’ll need the full 1/2 stick of butter), and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
The rice comes out savory and flavorful, and it’s just awesome. And since you’ve made it yourself, you know you’re putting real food and not artificial flavors and preservatives into your body, and how cool is that? =)