Yield: 8 servings
You can fold all the toppings into the rice and it’ll still be delicious-but you won’t get as much of a wow factor.
⅓ cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
⅓ cup slivered almonds
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large carrots, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds on a mandoline
2 teaspoons sugar
8 scallions, dark green parts and white parts separated, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 cups long-grain rice, rinsed
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 cup mixed unsweetened dried fruit (such as golden raisins, cranberries, and/or sour cherries)
Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange pistachios and almonds on opposite sides of a rimmed baking sheet and toast, shaking pan gently halfway through, until almonds are golden brown and pistachios are slightly darkened, 6-8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop pistachios.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Cook carrots, stirring occasionally, until softened but haven’t taken on any color, 8-10 minutes. Stir in sugar and a pinch of salt and cook until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute more. Transfer carrot mixture to a medium bowl.
Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in same pot over medium. Cook scallion whites and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4-6 minutes. Stir in rice, red pepper flakes, cardamom, cinnamon, and turmeric; cook, stirring often, until some grains are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add 3¾ cups water, season with 1 Tbsp. salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender, 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat, add butter and orange zest, and fluff rice with a fork. Cover pot and let rice steam 10 minutes.
Spoon pilaf onto a platter. Top with neatly defined rows of dried fruit, almonds, pistachios, carrots, and scallion greens.
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