That’s right, pasta that looks like rice. That’s what orzo is and its popularity has increased non-stop in the last decades. Why so? Well, mainly because of the varied uses it has and the nutritive aspect of it. Although orzo directly translates to barley in Italian, that can be a bit misleading for it’s not made of barley. Orzo is actually made of wheat and it’s cut into the shape of rice by its manufacturers.  So, it looks like rice, but it’s actually a flour pasta and the small size it has is the reason why it can also be classified as a pastina, which is the word used for small-size pastas.

As said before, orzo has become more and more common in different cuisines around the world because of its many uses. From salads to paella or risotto, orzo is a versatile and flavor-packed ingredient and even though it is perfect for soups as a main dish, this is not exclusively the case. Orzo is being more and more frequently served next to some fish or meat.

Mediterranean roots

This pasta is particularly popular in Italy and it has extended to Chipre, Turkey and especially Greece. Why is this so? Because it goes exceptionally well with the most common Mediterranean ingredients. Most orzo preparations will include fresh vegetables, oils and grains, similar to Mediterranean cuisine in general which focuses mainly on healthy and sustainable preparations.

Why is orzo so good?

Versatility is, by far, the best quality this pasta has, and the nutritive aspect is also important for people who choose to include it in their recipes. But those are not the only reasons. 

Orzo can be cooked and ready to serve in just a couple of minutes (depending on the preparation) and that’s almost a must in the present world. Nobody wants to spend two hours in the kitchen and twenty minutes at the table. So, if those aspects are important to you too, this should be your go-to pasta.

What can I cook with orzo?

As said before, there are more and more recipes that include orzo or use orzo as their main ingredient. If you go through the Internet, you will probably and easily find many Orzo Recipes and Products | RiceSelect® that suit your needs. In case you’re willing to try almost any preparation with this rice-shaped pasta, here’s our recommendation: kritharaki, a greek dish.

Ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil.
  • 2 onions.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cups of orzo.
  • 30 oz of tomato sauce.
  • 30 oz of water.
  • 30 oz vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp of salt.
  • 1 tbsp of pepper.
  • 1 tbsp of oregano.

Preparation:

  1. Take the onions and slice them juliana style or into cubes. Chop the garlic too. Set aside.
  2. In a large-size pot, pour some extra virgin olive oil, heat it up on medium heat and throw the onions. in. Sprinkle them with some salt, pepper and oregano to your liking. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
  3. Once done, add the garlic and keep sautéing for a few more minutes.
  4. Keep the heat on and add the tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly.
  5. If you used a can of tomato sauce, take that same can, fill it up with water and add that to the pot. Stir to make sure the mix is uniform.
  6. Add the same amount of vegetable broth and stir the mix.
  7. Set heat to low and add three cups of orzo. Stir continuously and make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  8. Cover most of the pot with the lid and let it cook for about twenty minutes. Go back to the pot to check and give it a stir within that time. 
  9. Add more water to the mix if needed. Taste your preparation and check if the seasoning is alright. Add whatever you think it needs at this point.
  10. Make sure the orzo is well-cooked, remove from the heat and let it rest for a while to cool a little down before serving.

As with any past preparation, this can be a main dish, but if you want, it goes perfectly well with some meat or chicken breast

Dare to discover your own way to include orzo in your recipes!