I love orzo pasta; I first cooked with it when I was in Ireland at the inspirational Ballymaloe cooking school. If you don't already use it in your weekly cooking, it’s definitely worth trying, as it is so easy to cook. For anyone not familiar with orzo: it is a pasta, but shaped like a super sized grain of rice. Cooking the orzo in stock, helps it to absorb lots of flavour.
I cook different versions of this recipe, depending on what ingredients I have to hand. Here I am sharing the master recipe I use, as well as two versions we love to eat as a family. You can of course adapt this recipe as you like.
I am using orzo made by Garofola which cooks in just 9 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 small garlic clove, peeled and whole
300g orzo pasta
800ml - 1litre no salt stock*, warmed through in a pan until hot, add more depending on the consistency you like
(*I use homemade chicken, or vegetable stock ~ recipes on the website)
In a pot add the olive oil and diced onion and gently sauté for 5-8mins, until translucent and soft. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 1-2 mins, stirring (so the garlic doesn’t burn). Add the orzo pasta and stir through the oil, onion, garlic mix: then add the hot stock
Simmer gently for 12-15 minutes (stirring towards the end of cooking time ~ to stop the orzo catching). The orzo should absorb all the stock (like a risotto) and be cooked through.
orzo with peas & fresh mint
Add 150g frozen peas for the last 2-3 mins of cooking and remove from the heat. To finish add 1 tablespoon of fresh mint, finely shredded.
orzo with roasted butternut squash & thyme
Add 200g oven roasted butternut squash
(Peel and cube the butternut squash: toss in 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves. Roast in the oven at 180C fan oven, for 20-25 mins until tender).
other delicious ingredients to add, when serving
shredded spinach leaves
finely chopped herbs, I love chives or parsley