Aunt Mary's pilaf with topping (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)
1. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt one-quarter cup (one-half stick) butter over medium heat. Stir in the rice and stir to coat, then stir in the chicken broth. Bring the broth to a boil over high heat, then reduce and cook the rice, covered, at a gentle simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, place a paper towel over the pan and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. While the rice is cooking, make the topping: Melt the remaining one-quarter cup (one-half stick) butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the almonds are toasted to a golden-brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the dates and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the dates are heated through, about 2 minutes.
3. Mound the rice neatly on a serving platter, and sprinkle over the topping. Serve immediately.
Each of 6 servings: 542 calories; 11 grams protein; 72 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 25 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 41 mg cholesterol; 16 grams sugar; 699 mg sodium.