Heat the butter in a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid, over medium heat. Add the rice and lemon peel and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the water and add salt to taste, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until all the water has been absorbed by the rice, about 45 minutes. Please don't lift the lid to give a peek or stir or the rice will not cook evenly.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Once again, no peeking. Fluff with a fork, season with salt and pepper and serve.
Cook's Note: Zip up this basic pilaf with one of these easy variations: Add a handful of raisins or apricots to the rice with the water. Add chopped parsley, toasted pine nuts and caramelised onions during cooking or to already cooked pilaf. Add chopped fresh herbs and peas to cooked pilaf.
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