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1. In 3-quart saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil over medium heat about 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the rice. Cook about 5 minutes or until rice is golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a 1-1/2-quart saucepan bring broth to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and keep broth simmering. Carefully stir 1 cup of the broth into the rice mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until liquid is absorbed. Stir another 1 cup of the broth into rice mixture. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Add another 1 cup broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until the broth has been absorbed. (This should take 18 to 20 minutes total.)
3. Stir in remaining broth, the peas, carrot, and dried thyme (if using). Cook and stir until rice is just tender and creamy.
4. Stir in spinach, cheese, and fresh thyme (if using); heat through. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.