Warm the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and pine nuts, reduce the heat to low, and stir until the grains are well coated with the oil, about 5 minutes. Add the water, salt, and the saffron, if using, and raise the heat to high. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.
© 2000 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.