Rachael Ray's Cheesy Orzo
from 30 Minute Meals, episode "Picky Eaters Beware"
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (14 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or stock
2 cups orzo pasta (enriched rice may be substituted)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.
This was my first time preparing orzo. I wanted a nice simple recipe and this fit the bill! I stayed pretty true to the recipe and had to add about 1/2 cup more water towards the end -- maybe I had the heat on too high? I used vegetable broth, left out the onion and sprinkled some onion powder, and also added extra parmesan cheese. I can't wait to try this again and add some veggies into the mix, I'm thinking peas and mushrooms would be great.
This was a mild yet tasty side dish and my family loved it! My kids thought it was rice and I explained to them that they were correct with the shape since orzo is understood as "rice shaped pasta" in the United States, and sometimes called Italian rice even though it is not rice and made from hard wheat semolina -- thank you Wikipedia :)
I'll be completely honest and tell you that when I bought my cute little box of Barilla orzo I wanted to make a risotto (also something I've never prepared before) I knew you needed arborio rice but couldn't find any at the store and I'd remembered hearing of an 'orzo risotto' recipe so I just bought the orzo and went on with my shopping. When I got home I had to do some googling before I got answers on the orzo for arborio substitution... Ochef.com had my answer and made me feel rather stupid for googling it..."Because their shapes are similar, you mean? Like, could you substitute bamboo for sugar cane, because they look similar? Or — and this has happened (but certainly not to us) — could you substitute salt for sugar? " Yikes, sorry! Never claimed to be an expert -- thank goodness I wasn't the person who actually wrote in and asked "Is orzo a substitute for Arborio rice? " to Ochef -- ouch. I ended up just searching for a basic orzo recipe and that's how I came across Rachael's recipe on Footnetwork.com. I think I will just order some arborio online so I can finally try my hand at risotto :)