What is Orzo?

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Q: What is orzo and how do you cook it?
Temi, Long Island, NY

A: Meet Orzo – what I call “Supergrain.” It looks like a large grain of your mild-mannered rice, but it’s really a form of pasta that can stand up to any recipe and leap tall buildings in a single bound. If it’s made from semolina (milled durum wheat, a “hard” variety) it will remain resilient in cooking, and can even be simmered in a stew or baked without losing its chewy character. Let it become your new all-purpose best friend in the kitchen.

The name is Italian and means barley, because orzo used to be made from it rather than the wheat varieties used today. It’s terrific in soups and you can use it as a side or cooked into all kinds of dishes. Orzo my new favorite and I use it in tons of dishes.

I actually have two NEW favorite recipes from my new book Quick & Kosher Meals in Minutes : Orzo with Feta and Basil is delish as a side dish for tuna steak (or at any milchig meal). Italian Wedding Soup will be your new Friday night swap for classic chicken soup.

You can cook orzo as you would pasta (with lots of water and then drain it) or as you would rice (with just enough water to be absorbed.) Use four cups of water to 1½ cups of orzo and let it cook for about 10 minutes.

It’s another one of those fab presto-chango foods that gets you out of the kitchen fast!