Rice Pilaf With Raisins and Almonds


5-6 tablespoons butter
4-5 ounces dried vermicelli or egg noodles
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 quart vegetable, chicken or turkey broth
1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
½ cup coarsely chopped almonds
½ cup coarsely chopped golden or black raisins
½ cup frozen petite peas (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Break or crush the vermicelli into 1-inch lengths. Add the pasta and rice to the butter and stir often until golden, about 5-8 minutes, being careful not to burn the vermicelli.
Add the broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a full boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rice is tender to bite, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium heat, melt remaining 1 or 2 tablespoons butter. Add the almonds and stir often until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the raisins and stir until they puff, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir peas if using and parsley into rice. Cover and simmer until peas are hot, about 3-4 minutes.
Pour pilaf into a serving bowl or on a platter and sprinkle with the raisin and nut mixture over the top. (Diced dried dates, figs, apricots or chopped walnuts may also be used in this topping.)