Rice is such a simple pleasure. Whether you have a go-to Mexican rice recipe for taco night, heap brown rice in your stir-fry, or enjoy spicy red beans and rice, there are endless options. Maybe you grew up eating instant rice from a box (shudder) but these days, there are more types of this versatile grain available, and lots of great ways to use it. What you see on supermarket shelves is just a fraction of what's out there - at farmers markets and specialty stores you can find unique heirloom varieties in striking colors with fancy pedigrees. But for most meals, you can find what you need at the market. Basamati rice, traditionally eaten with Indian food, has a long thin grain and an intensely nutty aroma. Jasmine rice, often served with Thai dishes, is very fragrant, with a flavor that's almost floral. So get creative: A pilaf is nice, but what about wild rice studded with toasted almonds? Or a rich, creamy mushroom risotto made with short-grain Arborio rice? Long-grain varieties cook up light and fluffy, perfect for serving alongside a dinnertime stir-fry. And for dessert? Rice pudding, of course.

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