Pilaf noodles (Recipe: rice pilaf)
If these pilaf noodles and I were dating, I'd be embarrassed to say this:
"I've been buying you for years, but until last week, I never knew your name!"
The packaging — in French which, sadly, I do not speak — calls them Cheveux d'Ange (angel hair). After a market tour and cooking lesson with Georgette Hallak, owner of Hallak Middle East Market in North Providence, I now know that their proper Arabic name is chayreyé. I can't pronounce it correctly — I can't pronounce it in French, either — but at least I no longer have to say "hey you pilaf noodles" when I want to get the noodles' attention.
Though these simple egg noodles, which look like vermicelli or straightened-out chopped-up fideo, are the perfect addition to rice pilaf, they've also been finding their way into my vegetable-based winter soups.
Toss in a handful of noodles near the end of cooking, when you want a bit more body to a soup, without an overage of starch. If you can't find chayreyé in a market near you, substitute angel hair or vermicelli pasta, broken up into 2-inch pieces.
But, if you do find them, please don't call them "hey you pilaf noodles"!
Riz imfalfal (rice pilaf)
You could replace up to 2 cups of the water with chicken broth, for a richer dish. If you use chicken stock, reduce the added salt by half. Serves 6-8.
3/4 cup pilaf noodles, or angel-hair or vermicelli pasta broken into 2-inch pieces
6 Tbsp butter
2 cups long grain rice, washed
1 tsp salt
4 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp cinnamon for garnish
In a large sauce pan or small stockpot, sauté noodles in butter over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add rice and salt. Stir until all butter is absorbed by the rice. Add boiling water. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Garnish with cinnamon, and serve.