Rice-a-Roni Upgrade: Rice Pilaf with Crab, Leeks, Asparagus & Peas
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Rice-a-Roni Upgrade: Rice Pilaf with Crab, Leeks, Asparagus & Peas

My mom used to buy rice pilaf in a box. Very tasty stuff, I admit. But it's just toasted broken pasta and rice. I don't know about you, but I always have both in the house. So why not make it yourself?


  • 4 tbsp. butter

  • About 1/3 cup broken spaghetti (1-inch pieces)

  • 1 cup white long-grain rice

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 ¾ cups chicken stock

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • ½ bunch thin asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on an angle

  • 1 large leek, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas

  • 1 red finger chile—halved, seeded, and thinly sliced

  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 lb. shelled crab from king crab legs or lump crabmeat (picked through for pieces of shell)

  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

  • About 1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning

  • About 1/4 cup dry sherry or 1/2 cup white wine

  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

  • ½ cup chopped mixed fresh tarragon and flat-leaf parsley


  • Step 1

    In a large saucepan with a lid, melt 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add the pasta. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the rice. Cook, stirring often, until toasted, about a minute; season with salt and pepper. Add the stock. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Step 2

    In a large skillet, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the asparagus, leek, peas, chile, and garlic. Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Push the vegetables to the sides of pan. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter in the center of the pan. Add the crab; season with the thyme and Old Bay. Stir in the sherry. Cook, tossing often, until the crab is heated through, about 1 minute. Toss in the rice and pasta. Mix in the lemon juice and herbs. Serve in shallow bowls.

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