Everything you wanted to know about Orzo

Everything you wanted to know about orzo

Among the endless number of types of pasta available in stores today, we can find Orzo, a very specific and complex type of pasta that can easily be confused with barley because of its translation. It literally means barley in Italian, and their shapes and color are very similar, but Orzo is made with durum wheat semolina.

Uses of Orzo around the world

Orzo, also known as risone or kritharaki, has been a very used ingredient in many cuisines around the world for a long time, especially in Greece, Spain and Turkey. Even in some regions of Germany it’s common to find some dishes made with this Italian-born pasta.

Being as famous as it is, this rice-shaped pasta has been distributed throughout the world, and that’s why a lot of different recipes to make with Orzo can be found. From soup and salads to more elaborated dishes such as Pilaf. Some people use it as a side dish for all kinds of meat, chicken, and fish stews and even as a base for stuffing onions, peppers, eggplants, or zucchinis.

It's available dried or fresh and in a variety of flavors and colors, including spinach, carrots, and beets. . There's also a healthier form, often called puntalette, of this pasta that adds a wonderful touch to any dish. If you want to know more about Orzo, see riceselect.com/product/orzo.

How to Cook Orzo

Simple as it may sound, the basic rule is to cook it like any other type of pasta. Cooking time can be about 6 to 8 minutes both in boiling water or broth, what really matters is that orzo has to be al dente and not overcooked.

Orzo can also be prepared with the Pilaf method, which consists in boiling it as if it were a risotto, or you can toast it with a bit of olive oil and cook it as a paella.

Thanks to its shape and size, Orzo can replace other ingredients, such as rice and couscous in many recipes which are basically prepared in the same way.

If you have never tried Orzo before, this is just the perfect opportunity for you to start experimenting and expanding your repertoire! So... why don’t you give it a try to these quick and easy Orzo recipes we have carefully selected.

Orzo Salad

What you will need:

  • ½ cup of Orzo.
  • ⅓ cup of sweet corn.
  • 1 tomato.
  • 1 piece of onion.
  • 1 pinch of chopped parsley.
  • 2 tablespoons of green olives.
  • 2 3/4 oz (80 g) of feta cheese.
  • 1 splash of lemon.
  • 1 splash of olive oil.
  • A pinch of salt.


  1. Cut the onion and tomato into tiny squares.
  2. Cook the orzo in plenty of boiling water with a little salt. The approximate cooking time is 6 minutes, but it is better to read the recommended time usually printed on the package.
  3. Mix the corn with the green olives, chopped tomatoes, and onion.
  4. Add the cooked orzo pasta and season the Greek salad with salt, a few drops of lemon, and olive oil. Mix well to integrate the flavors.
  5. Finally, serve the orzo salad with some crumbled feta cheese and a little fresh parsley.

Spinach and Parmesan cheese Orzo


  • 1 1/2 cups of orzo.
  • 2 teaspoons of flour.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of chopped garlic.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 cup of milk.
  • 2/3 cups of fresh spinach, chopped.
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.


  1. Cook the orzo following the instructions on the package, drain, and reserve.
  2. Take a medium-sized pan and sauté the garlic with salt and pepper in olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute.
  3. Add the flour and stir for a minute, then add about ¼ cup the milk to the pot and whisk to avoid the formation of lumps. Carefully stirring, add the rest of the milk.
  4. Let it simmer for about 8 minutes or until the mix thickens.
  5. Then add the chopped spinach to the sauce and cook for an additional 2 minutes until the spinach is smooth.
  6. Remove it from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese.
  7. Finally, when the cheese has melted, add the orzo and mix.
  8. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese.
  9. Enjoy!


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