This elegant version of rice pilaf combines rice with pieces of vermicelli that have been toasted in fat to add richness and a nutty flavor. In order to produce a rice pilaf with rice as perfectly cooked as the pasta, we had to get the rice and pasta to cook at the same rate. Soaking the rice in hot water for a mere 10 minutes softened its outer coating and let it absorb water quickly. Once the pasta and rice are cooked, we let the pilaf stand for 10 minutes with a towel under the lid to absorb steam. Then we fluff it with a fork and stir in fresh herbs. Rice and pasta pilaf is particularly poplar in certain countries, but not in Italy, as someone could think seeing pasta is one of the main ingredients of this dish. Still, a lovely recipe that is definitely worth a try!
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring frequently until turning brown. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Mix in the rice and chicken broth.
Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and let cook until the liquid has been completely absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for five minutes, still covered. Fliff up and stir in 1 tbsp of the chives if using. Plate rice and pasta pilaf, them top with additional chives.