Also Known as
Rice shaped pasta.
Orzo pasta is a type of pasta which is made in the shape of a grain of rice. Orzo pasta is often about rice-sized, as well. This pasta is very versatile, and it can be used in a range of recipes, with many people consuming orzo in soups. Many markets carry orzo pasta, and several options may be available for consumers to choose from. The word orzo is Italian for "barley," and a reference to the size and shape of the pasta. You can also see orzo called kritharaki, manestra, rosa marina, reiskornpasta, or pasta gallo pion. This pasta is very popular in Greece especially, although it is used in other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern nations, and in some parts of Germany as well. The small size can make orzo a very fun pasta to work and cook with.
Parboiled orzo pasta-Parboiling is a cooking technique in which orzo pasta are partially cooked in boiling water, but removed before it is cooked all the way through. Many recipes such as stir fry or casseroles call for parboiled pasta .Parboiling them in advances ensures that they get completely cooked in the final dish.
Boiled orzo pasta- As the name suggests refers to the orzo pasta which are boiled. You can use three cups of water per cup of pasta. Cooking pasta in a pan takes around 10-12 minutes. Drain the excess water and let it run in cold water to remove any stickiness. Salt may also be added during boiling.
How to select
The best orzo comes from durum semolina wheat, an especially hard variety of wheat. When soft wheats are used to make orzo, the pasta tends to fall apart during the cooking process, and it can become very mushy and unpleasant. Durum orzo pasta, on the other hand, will retain resilience throughout the cooking process, ever after being baked or simmered in a stew, and it has a very pleasant clear flavor and chewy mouthfeel. In addition to finding orzo pasta in plain varieties, it is also possible to find orzo pasta which has been colored and flavored with vegetables. Spinach orzo is very common, but orzo can also be mixed with beets, carrots, and other vegetables. Choose the pasta as per your recipe requirement. Check the best before date before buying. It is readily available in supermarkets. A smaller version, risi or risoni, can also be used.
· The classic use of orzo is in soups.
· It can also be used in pilafs. The Greeks have a number of pilaf recipes which call specifically for orzo pasta, but it is also possible to use a rice pilaf recipe, substituting orzo for the rice.
· Orzo performs very well when baked in casseroles as well, and it can be used in things like stuffed peppers and stuffed squash. The pasta absorbs flavors very well and acts as a filler in these dishes.
· You can also eat orzo plain with butter or a light sauce. The pasta takes well to soupy sauces, in which case it can be eaten with a spoon, and because it is so dense, it can also support some heavier sauces, like sauces with meatballs or chunks of sausage. One thing to watch out for, however, is that because orzo is compact, orzo dishes can become very heavy, since it lacks hollow spaces.
· The unique orzo pasta shape combines with vegetables, cheese and fresh herbs to create an easy to prepare side dish
· Orzo pasta can be served as salads, stir frys and with herbed tomato puree.
How to store
Store orzo pasta in an air tight container.
· Pasta is high in complex carbohydrates, which provide a "time release" of energy rather than a quick boost. Pasta is great source of energy. That is the one reason most sportsmen & women eat pasta before an event. Incorporating pasta into a vegetarian diet gives you those much needed carbs for a hectic day at work or going out to do aerobics
· Often orzo pasta is fortified with B vitamins and folic acids. Pasta is affordable and easy to combine with other folate-rich foods, such as vegetables, nuts, some legumes and fruits
· Pasta is low in sodium and if the recipes chosen are with healthy ingredients like olive oil, vegetables and beans, orzo pasta may qualify as a healthy complete meal.