This dish has a distinctive and appetizing flavor sure to be enjoyed by all. I served it to company on Chanukah and everyone wanted doubles. There’s a mysterious note to the seasoning that makes it so appealing. Try it and you’ll see what I mean!
In a four- or five-liter pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper and sauté for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and sauté an additional minute. Add pasta and continue sautéing another minute. Add rice and continue sautéing another minute. Add salt and all spices and stir for one to two minutes until everything is coated.
Pour in boiling water with soup mix and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer; add chestnuts and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover pot with a damp cloth (this is a tip given to me by a Sephardic rice expert eons ago!), and let sit for five minutes. Remove lid and stir in parsley, fluﬀing rice and breaking up any clumps.
Whole wheat pasta works well in this recipe. You can use any pasta you prefer, i.e., whole wheat spaghetti broken into pieces, angel hair pasta, etc.
When I first moved to Israel many years ago, I was privileged to have Lieutenant Meyer Birnbaum and his family as my neighbors. Having worked in the food industry for many years, he taught me that one of the fundamental tips to proper balanced seasoning is equal amounts of spices. Hence, the quantities above.
This can also be pressed firmly into muﬀin tins while still hot, turned out, and served that way. It’s a good way to do portion control!
Photography: Hudi Greenberger
Styling: Janine Kalesis