IN THE TIGHT-KNIT Assyrian community outside Washington, D.C., where Marcelle Afram grew up, there was rice on the table at most every meal. But this pretty dish, known simply as red rice, was reserved for special occasions.
Simmered just until al dente with tomato pulp and saffron, the rice, true to its name, takes on a scarlet hue. Spiced with cumin, dotted with fava beans and chickpeas, and topped with fried onions, dill and a drizzle of yogurt, it makes a generous centerpiece or very special side for any occasion.
The third Slow Food Fast contribution from Mx. Afram, who uses the gender-neutral honorific, this recipe puts late-season tomatoes to great use. Their bright flavor infuses every grain. In a small tweak to the version the chef knew as a child, the chickpeas are fried to draw out their nutty flavor.
“You can eat this as a side dish or on its own,” Mx. Afram said. “But my favorite way to eat it is the next day, right out of the fridge.”