The classic Italian Jewish Friday night rice dish is a simple saffron-flavored rice that recalls the classic risotto alla milanese. Some cooks make it in the manner of a risotto, adding broth in increments. Others prepare it as a pilaf, adding all the liquid at once and cooking it, covered, on top of the stove. In La cucina nella tradizione ebraica, the rice is sautéed in oil and the hot broth and saffron are added all at once. It is covered and put in the oven for 18 minutes. Once out of the oven it rests, covered, for 10 minutes and then is served with mushrooms, peas, or other seasonal vegetables. This version might also be served at room temperature. For Hanukkah, raisins are added and the dish becomes riso con l’uvette.
Pour the broth (or water and broth) into a saucepan and bring to a simmer; adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
Warm the olive oil or chicken fat in a large deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and parsley and sauté for a few minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add a ladleful (about
© 1998 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.