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What is orzo (All that you need to know!)

What is orzo (All that you need to know!)

Orzo is a pantry staple that’s loved by many cooks across the globe. It comes from the pastina category, a variety of tiny pasta that is often cooked in soups. 

This ingredient’s versatility makes it a great addition to cold salads, chicken soups, casserole dishes, or even baby food.  

If you’re somewhat familiar with orzo, this guide should be a godsend! From texture and taste to what it is made, here’s everything you need to know about this oval-shaped wonder.

What is orzo?

Orzo is an Italian short cut pasta similar in shape and size to a grain of large rice. 

This versatile pasta first existed in Italy, but its popularity dominates the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, especially in Greece.

Orzo has a uniform shape, though its taste and color vary depending on the addition of various vegetables to the ingredient. 

Plus, orzo’s chewy and tender texture makes it easy to cook and great in so many recipes such as pasta salads, casseroles, or even soups.

Is orzo pasta or rice?

Is orzo pasta? Well, definitely yes! 

Many people have struggled with distinguishing orzo as pasta or rice. I can’t blame them as the two ingredients have similarities. They are both chewy and tasty.

Though orzo resembles a large rice, this oval-shaped pasta boasts semolina flour, made of durum wheat. Meanwhile, they’re traditionally cooked and served just like rice.

So here’s the thing: rice is rice, and orzo is rice-shaped pasta.

What is orzo made of?

Here’s another vital information: The word orzo translates as barley in Italian. Nevertheless, the ingredients behind this pasta aren’t made from barley. So there’s that.

Orzo is made with wheat semolina flour— a type of flour made from durum wheat. It’s a type of wheat that isn’t only used to make pasta, but also good to create bread and pizza dough.

What does orzo taste like?

If you haven’t tried orzo, you’re missing out! The ingredient features a neutral taste that fits to improve the flavor of your favorite soups and salads. 

However, the taste and color of orzo are sometimes altered with the addition of various vegetables to the ingredient.

How to cook orzo

I’m not an expert on cooking orzo, but today, I’m going to share with you this buttered orzo recipe from my old recipe box. 

The recipe calls for only two ingredients and four simple steps. It’s a super quick and easy dish perfect for busy days. 

Plus, the ingredients are likely to be found in your kitchen. It would also help if you had dry orzo and butter. 

Or, if you want some tweaking done down the line, you can add parsley, parmesan cheese, and other ingredients of your liking. Here’s the recipe!

How to cook buttered orzo

How to cook buttered orzo

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes

How to cook buttered orzo pasta in a quick and easy method. This is a simple recipe that only requires 4 ingredients.


  • 1 c dry orzo
  • Water
  • Salt
  • 1 T butter


  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the dry orzo and reduce it to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 8 minutes or until the orzo is al dente.
  4. Drain the orzo.
  5. Stir in the butter.
  6. Serve hot.

Did you make this recipe?

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How to store leftover cooked orzo?

Leftovers? No problem! You can store your favorite orzo dish and enjoy it later. 

To do this, put the leftover orzo inside an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Secure to remove the air before sliding the container into the fridge. 

You can consume it for up to five days when stored properly. 

The bottom line

Now that you know everything about orzo, you’re probably sitting on the edge of your seat and looking forward to grabbing some packs in the pasta aisle. 

And don’t hold back as I’m about to do the same!

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