OMG Ottolenghi's Baked Rice w/ Tomatoes & Cinnamon

You know I am a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi and have gone to every one of his book signings and dinners.

Not only is he a super nice guy, but his recipes are fantastic, most of them stemming from his Middle Eastern roots, having been born in Israel.

His newest book SIMPLE is pretty fabulous, and now I have all of his books in my kitchen (NOPI being my least favorite, and JERUSALEM still being my very favorite).

If I were being honest, and I always am when it comes to food............this could be my favorite rice dish of all time.

I love baking rice vs. stove-top cooking.
No stirring and no sticking. Perfect rice every time.

You most likely have all the ingredients to make this, so I suggest you do.
Your kitchen will smell divine.

I served this along side a roast chicken, but it's great on its own as a vegetarian dinner too.

It makes enough for 6 people as a side dish.

Here's how:

Baked Rice w/ Tomatoes, Cinnamon & Garlic Confit (adapted from Ottolenghi's SIMPLE)

about a l lb. of cherry tomatoes (kept whole)
4 large shallots, peeled and cut in half
12 cloves garlic
4 cinnamon sticks
bunch of cilantro stems (save the leaves for garnish)
1 1/2 cups of basmati rice
2 1/2 cups of boiling water
salt & pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F.

Drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of an 8" x 13" casserole dish. A Pyrex dish would work well.

Lay the tomatoes, shallots, whole garlic cloves, cilantro stems and cinnamon sticks in the pan and season with kosher salt. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. You don't have to stir the pan at all.

Bake uncovered 45-55 minutes, until your tomatoes and shallots are soft and starting to brown.
Remove from the oven and turn the temperature up to 425F (the recipe calls for 450F, but that's usually too high for my hot oven).

Without disturbing the tomato mixture, pour the 1 1/2 cups of basmati rice on top of the ingredients in the casserole.
Season again with salt & pepper (I like kosher salt).

Carefully pour 2 1/2 cups of boiling water over the rice and cover the entire pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in the 425F oven, covered, for 25 minutes exactly.

Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes covered.
DO NOT REMOVE THE FOIL. The rice will continue to steam and be perfect. I promise.

Carefully and slowly remove the foil after the resting period (remember, there is hot steam).

The tomatoes and cinnamon sticks and all that confit of garlic and shallots will be mixed in during the baking process.
I did not stir the pan at all.

Garnish with fresh cilantro just before serving.

This is heavenly rice!

Loved it. I could eat the whole pan myself!


Stephanie said…
That's an interesting way to cook rice. I am very curious about this recipe. I have his cookbook so I appreciate you doing a review of this recipe.
Stacey Snacks said…
When I tell you it was fantastic, it was that good! I almost ate the whole pan.
Try it!

Mary said…
Oh flavor goddess, please advise: would this be a good side dish for the new chicken Marbella you shared recently? I'm thinking this would make my vegetarian friends happy,and save me from making one MORE dish Saturday.
Lee R. said…
Could this be made with couscous or quinoa?
Stacey Snacks said…
Lee R. The answer is a firm NO. The magic of this dish is the method of the rice cooking and absorbing the correct amount of liquid covered. It is a baked rice dish. I have 1 million quinoa dishes on my site. And couscous would be delicious with the cinnamon but do something else maybe with raisins and cinnamon for couscous. xo

Spudsmama: Omg! Yes. Definitely. Perfection w the Chicken Marbella.
Sandra said…
Looks lovely ... but can u really taste the cinnamon?
Stacey Snacks said…
Yes, absoulutely.....beautifully scented rice.
Anonymous said…
Great photos. What about the cilantro stems? It looks like they’re added at the beginning step with tomatoes, etc? Thanks
Stacey Snacks said…
Yes, tomatoes, cilantro stems and shallots....all added at once......I will revise the recipe to include the stems. Thanks!

serafinadellarosa said…
Certainly going to make this. I have some brown Basmati rice. Would that effect the cooking time/ h2o measurements?
Mary said…
Thanks for answering! I just messaged one of the guests to ask about her dessert, and she actually said, "Are you making something from Stacey?" You never let us down:)
Stacey Snacks said…
I think basmati or jasmine rice would be just fine.......same time....check on it, and add more liquid if you think it is cooking too fast.......I love basmati, so it will smell heavenly!


So glad you actually TRY some of the recipes!
Have a great holiday and keep me posted.....
Anonymous said…
Very delicious and so easy. I used some of the cherry tomatoes that I picked before the frost. Thanks for sharing
Lisa said…
Thanks for posting about this recipe - looks fantastic!

I have a large group coming for dinner in a couple of weeks - do you think it would would work in a large dutch oven doubled? Thanks in advance for any input.
DawnieMS66 said…
OMFG!!! Just made this and it is friggin'aahhmazing!!! Shame to waste it on guests! Hahahaha
Maxi said…
How about serving this with roasted lamb? I am looking for an interesting side dish for lamb. Thanks
Denise said…
Any suggestion for people who can’t stand the taste of cilantro? Parsley stems or just leave the cilantro out?