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Learn About Orzo: The Rice-Shaped Pasta



Team rice or team pasta? People have strong opinions about their food preferences. Some like pasta because of its flavor and nutritional benefits. For rice fans, its lightness and texture are among the valuable characteristics. Maybe in your family, this is a common dilemma when you are planning your weekly meals. They ask you to buy only rice or pasta.

It is exhausting not only to decide the type of food but also to find the balance between pasta and rice dishes in the regular diet.

Sometimes, one of the team can feel you are leaving its preferences aside, and you keep trying to solve this issue. A possible solution would be to include in your menu pasta that looks like rice.




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A rice-shaped pasta?

Its name is Orzo, a rice-shaped dish also known as risoni or risi. In some countries it is called pasta gallo pion, pasta a riso, reiskorn pasta , kritharaki, rosa marina, and manestra.

This little pasta had its origin in Italy, and it is now widely found in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern gastronomy.

Orzo has the light texture of rice but with the density of pasta. It is made of enriched durum semolina wheat, and there are some versions with extra flavorings with vegetables like tomatoes or spinach.

Traditionally it is used in soups. However, Orzo is also cooked in a variety of preparations as a main or side dish such as pilaf rice, casseroles, stuffed peppers, stuffed squash, salads, among others.

It is a combination of both worlds: “Rice and Pasta”. So, once a week you can please both teams at home. Just go to your usual grocery store and grab a pack of tiny pasta, try Orzo from

Once you have it in your hands, take advantage of its light flavor and prepare it in a range of recipes as the ideal replacement for rice.


Cooking with Orzo

This pasta is very versatile with a neutral flavor which allows combining it with different ingredients. Besides, its cooking process is as easy as regular pasta but in less time. You only have to put the pasta in salted and boiled water for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Your family can eat in this simple way as a side dish; add some butter or a light sauce, and it is ready to eat. For trying more tasty dishes, here you have 2 easy and quick recipes with Orzo:


Fake Risotto

Servings: 8     Prep time: 10 minutes            Cook time: 30 minutes               


  • 6 tablespoons of butter.
  • 3/4 cup of minced shallots.
  • 2 minced garlic cloves.
  • 2 cups of Orzo.
  • 6 cups of boiling water.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme.
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon peel.
  • 6 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
  • Salt.


  1. In a saucepan, add butter and cook over medium heat.
  2. Incorporate shallots and garlic, and fry until they are tender.
  3. Add Orzo and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Then, pour water and salt.
  5. Cook until Orzo is tender, and liquid is absorbed.
  6. Remove from heat and incorporate thyme, lemon peel, and parsley.
  7. Serve


Quick Mediterranean Orzo salad

Servings: 6     Prep time: 20 minutes            Cook time: 10 minutes               


  • 1½ cups of Orzo.
  • Greek salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano.
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  • 2 sliced cucumbers.
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes.
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas.
  • 4 ounces of feta cheese.
  • ⅓ cup of thinly sliced red onion.
  • ½ cup of Kalamata olives.
  • 1 cup of fresh basil.


  1. In a pot, put water boil, add salt.
  2. Incorporate Orzo and cook.
  3. Let Orzo cool and add olive oil.
  4. Prepare the seasoning with Greek Salad dressing, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, and salt.
  5. In a bowl, mix Orzo, cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas, feta, red onion, and olives.
  6. Add the seasoning and stir very well.
  7. Serve.



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