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Saffron Pilaf

['6 tablespoons (80 g / 3 oz) butter', '2 1/4 cups (450 g / 1 lb) long-grain rice', '5 cups (1.2 litres/ 2 pints) vegetable or meat stock', 'salt and pepper', '10 saffron threads, crushed', 'finely chopped fresh parsley and grated kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese', 'to garnish']

Melt the butter in a pan over high heat. When it begins to brown, add the rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns opaque. Pour in 4 cups (1 litre / 1 3/4 pints) of the stock, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and small holes appear on the surface. Stir the saffron into the remaining stock, add it to the rice, and stir gently. Place a clean dish towel over the top of the pan, replace the lid, and remove from the heat. Let the pilaf rest for 5-8 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with finely chopped parsley and grated cheese. This is an excellent accompaniment to roast or braised meat or fish.

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