Delectable :: Jeweled Rice Pilaf with Carrots

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Ingredients :: 

* 1/2 cup sliced almonds
* 1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Kosher salt
* Pepper
* 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
* 2 1/2 ounces angel hair pasta, broken into 2-inch pieces (1 cup)
* 2 cups basmati rice
* Pinch of saffron threads
* One 3-inch cinnamon stick
* 3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
* 1/2 cup chopped pitted Picholine olives
* 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Method ::

Preheat the oven to 450°. Spread the almonds in a pie plate. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with 
1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the carrots until golden and tender, about 15 minutes. While the carrots are cooking, toast the almonds until golden, 3 to 4 minutes; let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leeks and angel hair pasta, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, saffron and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, until the rice is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer.

Cover the rice and cook over low heat until all of the broth has been absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from 
the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Fluff the rice and stir in the carrots, toasted almonds, lemon juice, olives and parsley. Transfer the rice to a bowl and serve with lemon wedges.


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