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Oct 9, 2009 11:25 AM

Barley isn't orzo, is it??????

In another thread about risotto, some people posted that they use barley in risotto-type dishes. Rice is a grain and I THINK barley is grain. Made sense but then someone posted that barley is orzo and I may be crazy but I'm 99.9% sure that orzo is definitely a pasta. The mods didn't want the thread to get into a discussion about what constitutes risotto. I just want to have it verified that barley IS NOT orzo and that orzo IS pasta. Thank you :)

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  1. A quick search on Wikipedia yields this:

    "Orzo (from Latin hordeum, sometimes called Italian rice) is Italian and means "barley" [1], from which orzo was originally made. However, in common usage in the United States, orzo is understood to mean rice-shaped pasta, slightly smaller than a pine nut. "

    1 Reply
    1. re: Humbucker

      Ah, thanks. It doesn't sound from what you quote that orzo is any longer made from barley.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Orzo is most definitely a pasta, small rice-shaped pasta. Barley is a grain. I have barley (pot and pearl) in my pantry and it looks nothing like pasta.

        People have made barley risotto(using barley in place of rice) which might be the source of some of the confusion?

        ETA: Barley
        Barilla's orzo info: according to Barilla orzo means "barley" in Italian

        1. To whoever said that orzo (the pasta) is the same thing as barley (the grain):

          If I'm coming to dinner at your house, please do not serve orecchiette.

          6 Replies
          1. re: alanbarnes

            Because you don't want to be served ears?

            1. re: MMRuth

              I'll be having some pig ears (and other parts) for lunch tomorrow but I'd hate for it to be the base for a risotto.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    And I don't care if it does come from the head of an angel, I'm not eating a bowl of hair.

              1. Is it clear now? There is a pasta called orzo, made of durum wheat like other dried pastas. But orzo is the Italian word for barley, the grain. Orzo, barley, cooked in the manner of risotto is called orzotto.

                3 Replies
                1. re: mbfant

                  Sorry, I didn't realize that you live in Italy. In English-speaking countries, I don't believe that anyone would call "barley" "orzo." Since I live in the US, I'll continue to make a distinction.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I think it's perfectly appropriate, when posting on an English-language website, to use the terms as they are defined in English: barley for the name of the grain and orzo for the name of the pasta (and, btw, I've seen recipes for "risotto" using orzo pasta).

                    But hey, I never knew "orzo" was the Italian word for "barley" so I learned something!

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I didn't know that either and, if I'd bothered to look and seen that mbfant live in Rome, it would have been clearer to me sooner.