Brown rice is such a lovely grain and really is worlds apart from white rice. Although, it takes longer to cook, it maintains a lovely nubbly, nutty form and works wonderfully when you are using it blend in other flavours. It also carries strong flavours very well.
My very first recipe of the week is super healthy, earthy and rustic but with rockets of flavour! I’m a huge fan of pesto and although the one I use here is homemade – you can very easily use a very high quality shop bought version. ( I would just add some more fresh parmesan and top with olive oil before using in the recipe)
- 1 cup brown rice
- 3 heaped tbs of fresh basil pesto ( I make a homemade version with kale but a good quality basil pesto is perfect)
- 3/4 cup chopped smoked ham – NOTE: If you are vegetarian, replace this with one cup of finely sliced and quartered mushrooms – just pan fry them until soft and replace the ham stage in the method )
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbs finely chopped dill
- 1/4 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp finely sliced fresh red chilli
- Juice of half a lemon
- A few slices of spring onion for sprinkling over the top
- Salt and freshly black pepper for seasoning
- Wash your rice out once under a cold water rinse. Brown rice has far less starch than white, so it doesn’t require any repeat washes.
- Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add 2 tbs of olive oil. Add the rice and move it around the pan until well coated with the oil. Next add 2 cups boiling water. Cover with a lid and lower the heat. Cook for around 45 minutes until tender.
- Heat a wide frying pan on a medium heat. Add the olive oil and the garlic and fry for a minute or so.
- Next add the ham/mushrooms and stir fry for a few minutes until sizzling.
- Add the pesto and stir around all the ingredients in the pan, ensuring the pesto coats everything. Sometimes, I might just dash in some more pesto if I feel like I need a tad bit more – so don’t be afraid to do the same.
- Next add the brown rice and toss everything together. Add the lemon juice, the parmesan cheese and the dill. Combine well, gently folding everything together. Check for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
- Slice up your red chilli very finely. Just before serving spoon into large rustic pasta bowls, sprinkle over the chilli and the spring onion and drizzle over a little more olive oil. Serve up with a lovely chilled glass of white wine!
Photo credits to Vanessa Knight Photography, specially comissioned for Taste Safari