I haven’t made this in a while. The gentleman had expressed his reservations about the delicious qualities of cheesy rice casserole, and it took me a long time to get him to try it.
Maybe you, too, are hesitant about the concept of rice and cheese. But let me just remind you, that burritos, those lovely parcels of many good things in an easy-to-carry, edible envelope, are pretty much cheese, rice, and other things. Burritos – the gateway to cheesy rice casserole?
Back to the topic on hand. Eventually, and finally, he relented, willing to give it a chance.
He’s a big fan now.
If you’ve never tried cheesy rice, and you enjoy things like cheese, rice and vegetables (plus sausage if you’re into that sort of thing), then you should make your own cheesy rice casserole.
You can up- or downsize this recipe, so it’s great for an easy dinner (and lunch) or something to whip up for a dinner with friends. Plus — cheesy rice. What’s not to love about that?
It’s more than a one-pot meal, and does require both the stovetop and the oven, but considering how much you can make and the leftovers potential, it’s worth the trouble.
And you can get lots of vegetables in, you can try a reasonable variety without it feeling like you’re forcing veg into the meal.
On the Counter
1.5 cups (300g) white rice [75g portion]
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini (courgette), chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup (50g) broccoli stems (optional)
1 green chile, (such as jalapeno or serrano), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
3.5 oz (100 g) smoked cheddar (or strong cheddar), grated
What to Do
Rinse rice, pour into pot and shake it until it’s at an even level. Add a “knuckle’s worth” of water to the pot and a teaspoon of salt.
Bring rice to a boil, then cover and lower heat to a bare simmer. Leave the rice for 10 minutes, and taste it for doneness. Note, use a pot with a tight-fitting lid, with no gaps. (No spouts, no using a lid that’s too big for the pot.)
Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the olive oil to a shimmer. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant. Add red pepper, sauté for 5 minutes, then add zucchini. Cook until softened, but not entirely soft.
Preheat the oven to 350F (176 C).
Once the rice and the vegetables are done, combine them in a 2-quart (2 litre) shallow baking dish. Stir in grated cheese, paprika, parsley, salt and pepper. Ensure that everything is well-integrated. Bake for 30 minutes, until top starts to turn golden.
Cheesy rice casserole has officially entered into the dinner rotation. MKC wins this round.