Chef Nick DiGiovanni’s Makes Papa’s Crispy Rice
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
2 cups (400g) basmati rice
1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp finely ground saffron threads (optional)
1/3 cup (75g) plain yogurt
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup (60ml) grapeseed or canola oil
1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. In a large fine-mesh strainer, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
2. Add the rice to the boiling water. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes and then begin checking for doneness. Each grain of rice should be soft around the edges and firm in the center (not fully cooked). Drain in a fine-mesh strainer, shaking to remove as much water as possible, and then spread the rice on a baking sheet to dry.
3. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Generously grease a 9-inch (23cm) glass piedish with the butter. In a small bowl, combine the saffron (if using) and 2 teaspoons of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes.
4. To the bowl with the saffron, add the yogurt, egg yolk, and oil, and stir to combine. Stir in 2 cups (340g) of the parboiled rice and mix thoroughly to ensure every grain of rice is coated.
5. Transfer the yogurt–rice mixture to the prepared dish, pressing it firmly into the bottom. Top with the remaining rice and cover tightly with foil.
6. Place in the oven and bake until the rice is golden brown on the bottom and slightly up the sides, anywhere from 65 to85 minutes. After 1 hour, begin peeking at the underside of the glass dish to gauge the browning.
7. Remove from the oven and cool for several minutes, then place a large plate upside down over the pie dish and—in one confident motion—flip them both over. Serve immediately.