If you are a pasta lover, you might know this little pasta called Orzo. If not, let’s introduce this versatile ingredient. Once you know it, you will not believe why it took you so long to discover it.
Orzo is a pasta frequently confused with rice because of its shape. It is indeed a small pasta or pastina with a short-grain rice shape. So, if you plan to buy a package of orzo, look for it in the pasta aisle, next to regular pasta.
It is made of wheat semolina flour or whole grains combined with water. Its components help to maintain its shape and firmness after cooking it. They also give Orzo its characteristic light and fluffy texture needed to absorb all flavors included in the preparations.
The ingredients of orzo are wheat semolina flour and water. It has a blank taste, so you can easily pair it with almost anything in your kitchen.
In the market, you can find different variations of the original recipe. Some of them include additional nutrients to make it healthier. Some others have various herbs and spices to give them extra flavor.
The Orzo varieties include:
• Gluten-free orzo: Made of rice, corn, or quinoa.
• Organic orzo.
• Whole-grain orzo.
• Enriched orzo.
• Tri-color orzo.
• Sundried tomato orzo.
• Spinach orzo.
How to use Orzo?
Versatility is one of its distinctive characteristics. Its size and shape make it possible to include it in many of your favorite dishes. It substitutes rice or pasta in any recipe.
You can cook it like preparing pasta:
• Place water in a pot and boil.
• Add salt and orzo.
• Cook for 7 minutes and drain.
It can be cooked like rice:
• Pour 1 cup of orzo, 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan.
• Cook until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until all water is absorbed.
Any of these cooking methods work perfectly in any recipe. Salads, main dishes, fillings, side dishes, soups, and even risotto are the preparations you can make with this incredible ingredient.
The traditional recipes with orzo include chicken orzo soup, Mediterranean orzo salad, baked pasta, Italian soup, and minestrone with orzo.
Two simple but delicious orzo recipes
Orzo is easy to prepare. Once you try it, you will continue to include it in your shopping list. You can begin your cooking adventure with orzo with these two easy recipes:
Ingredients (4 servings):
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
• 1 chopped onion.
• 1 chopped garlic clove.
• 1 cup of orzo.
• 2 cups of vegetable stock.
• Chopped fresh oregano to taste.
• 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
• Lemon zest.
• Lemon juice.
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
i. Warm the vegetable stock and set aside.
ii. In a saucepan, heat olive oil at medium temperature.
iii. Incorporate onion and garlic. Cook until they get fragrant.
iv. Add orzo and sauté for 2 minutes.
v. Pour half of the warm vegetable stock and stir very well.
vi. Continue incorporating vegetable stock in small batches until the orzo is tender.
vii. Add oregano, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Combine all ingredients.
viii. Serve hot.
Mediterranean orzo salad
Ingredients (4 servings):
• 1 ½ cups of orzo pasta.
• 6 halved cherry tomatoes.
• 2 chopped green onions.
• ½ chopped green bell pepper.
• 1 cup of chopped fresh parsley.
• ½ cup of chopped fresh dill.
• ¼ cup of sliced pitted kalamata olives.
• 2 teaspoons of capers.
• Feta cheese to taste.
• 1 lemon.
• ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
• 1 minced garlic clove.
• 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano.
• Salt and pepper to taste.
i. Cook orzo like preparing pasta in salted boiling water for 7 minutes. Drain and reserve.
ii. In a bowl, incorporate cherry tomatoes, green onions, bell peppers, parsley, dill, olives, capers, and cold orzo.
iii. For the dressing, mix lemon juice, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.
iv. Add the dressing all over the salad.
v. Serve with feta cheese to taste.