Why does the rice and pasta need to be browned first?
- Most of the Rice-A-Roni products contain a rice and pasta mixture. The pasta is either rosamaria (rice-shaped pasta) or cut vermicelli (similar to spaghetti, but thinner). Browning the rice-pasta mixture keeps the rice from becoming mushy and sticky. It also adds a pleasant, delicate toasted flavor.
When I made Rice-A-Roni, my pasta didn’t brown. Why?
- Lower fat spreads usually contain more water than margarine or butter and will result in uneven browning. If the rice-pasta mixture doesn’t saute well, try using a different margarine, butter or oil.
What is the best way to saute the rice and pasta mixture?
- Choose a non-stick or regular 10-inch skillet; cast iron skillets are not recommended because the pasta is more likely to burn. Add the margarine or butter and the Rice-A-Roni rice-pasta mixture to the skillet. Cook over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon as the margarine melts and coats the bottom of the skillet. Lower the heat and remove the skillet from the burner if the pasta starts to brown too quickly. Continue to stir until at least half of the rice changes color and at least half of the pasta becomes a rich golden brown. The saute step usually takes about 4 to 6 minutes.
Margarine and butter: What can I substitute?
- Rice-A-Roni: Margarine and butter provide more flavor than oils, but olive oil, vegetable oil, or shortening could certainly be substituted. Coating the pan with cooking spray is also an option, although the texture of the rice may not be quite as fluffy. We do not recommend low fat margarine spreads (less than 56% fat to be precise) because the margarine may burn faster when sauteing and the Rice-A-Roni will turn out gummy or mushy.
Pasta Roni: Margarine and butter provide more flavor than oils, but olive oil, vegetable oil, or shortening could certainly be substituted. We do not recommend margarine spreads with less than 56% fat.
When using oil as a substitute, how much should I use?
- For oil preparation, simply halve the amount of butter or margarine with the equivalent of oil. For example, two tablespoons of butter or margarine would equal one tablespoon of oil. However, this will change the nutritional information slightly.
Can I use less margarine or butter than the amount listed in the directions?
- Rice-A-Roni: The amount of margarine or butter can be reduced from the amount listed in the directions, but we don’t recommend leaving it out completely. The flavor will be a little weaker and the texture will be a little more gummy.
Pasta Roni: The "Less Fat Directions" provide the best flavor and texture. The percentage of calories from fat is always less than or equal 30% using the "Less Fat Directions."
The directions say to use milk. What kind of milk can I use?
- Pasta Roni: The Nutrition Facts chart values are calculated based on the use of 2% fat milk. Whole milk will make the creamiest Pasta Roni. Skim milk, 1% fat milk or Lactaid will make it less rich and creamy.
Can I make Rice-A-Roni in a rice cooker or steamer?
- Our products are optimized for range top and microwave preparation methods so we cannot guarantee the results with various rice cookers and other appliances.
Can Rice-A-Roni be made in the oven?
- No. The saute step is important, and it isn't possible to brown the rice in the oven. Therefore, we do not recommend making Rice-A-Roni in the oven.
There is a range of cooking time in the microwave directions. What amount of time do I use?
- Our preparation directions are tested and developed in 600, 700, 800, 900 and 1000 watt microwave ovens. The lower the wattage of the oven, the longer the cook time will be for the product. When using microwave directions for the first time, use the lower time in the range and add additional time in one-minute increments as needed.
Why does it say "microwaveable round glass casserole?"
- Glass is recommended because not all plastic and ceramic containers are safe and functional for the microwave. Food in round containers heat more evenly than square or rectangular containers.
How can I know if my bowl is microwaveable?
- Microwave manufacturers recommend the following test. Add 1-cup of room temperature water to the bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Touch the bowl surface above the level of the water. If the bowl is hot, the bowl is not recommended for use in the microwave. If the bowl is cool, the bowl is acceptable for use in the microwave. Glass that is too thin might not be able to withstand high temperatures and may crack. Do not use a plastic bowl since it will melt.
Can I prepare two boxes at a time?
- Follow the range top directions, but use double the amount of added ingredients listed in the directions for one box (margarine and water, for example). Use the sauce mix and pasta from both of the boxes. Cook for the amount of time listed in the directions for one box. The cooking time may need to be adjusted by 5 minutes. Microwave preparation is not recommended for more than one package at a time. Preparing more than two boxes at a time also is not recommended.
What if I live at a high altitude?
- At elevations above 3,500 feet, water boils at a lower temperature and may evaporate more quickly than it does at sea level. Our high altitude directions are developed in Denver, Colorado (elevation 5,280 feet) and are listed in the Products section of this website. Just select a specific product and click on the Preparation Steps tab and the high altitude preparation will be listed if any adjustment is needed.
What is the best way to store and reheat?
- Store: Leftover product should be refrigerated in a tightly sealed storage container or zip lock plastic bag. For best results, store products in your refrigerator for no more than two days. After this time, the product may not taste as fresh.
Reheat: Add 1 to 3 tablespoons water for each cup of leftover product. Stir gently while cold. Reheat in the microwave oven. Rice-A-Roni also can be reheated over medium low heat in a saucepan on the stove, stirring occasionally.
Freeze: Freezing is not recommended, as freezing changes the texture of the rice unfavorably.