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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    "Orzo (from Latin hordeum, sometimes called Italian rice) is Italian and means "barley" [1], from which orzo was originally made.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. 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 http://www.albertabarley.com/barley/b...
      Barilla's orzo info: http://www.barillaus.com/Home/Pages/O... 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.

              2. Orzo is a pasta, barley is a grain, and anything calling itself "barley risotto," just means that it's barley cooked in the manner of risotto.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pikawicca

                  But in Italian the word for barley is orzo so that's where the confusion was. We all learn.

                2. "Orzo" also refers to ground, roasted barley and the hot beverage from which it's made. It's very popular in Italy and is found in many espresso bars (in fact, I wrote to Starbucks several years ago suggesting that it might be a non-caffeinated option for those who don't like coffee and received the usual form letter in reply). It's usually prepared at home in a moka pot, although instant options are now available, and is often served to children. I have a two-serving Bialetti pot that's manufactured specifically for use with orzo--very cute! The beverage is quite bitter and is treated in much the same way as espresso, i.e. as cappuccino, latte, straight up with lemon rind, etc.

                  I just turned up a nice little article: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travelblo... . I've only used the Nestlé products but these look lovely.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: MacGuffin

                    Very interesting thread here!! I did not know that Orzo in Italy is barley....well, at a Korean restaurant I went to in San Francisco in June, my son and I requested tea with our meal...they brought out a pitcher of barley tea...we totally loved it! They pan-toast the barley and make a tea from it but it is not ground up, as in the Italian fashion!

                    1. re: Val

                      Yes, the Koreans call it "boricha" and the Japanese call it "mugicha." It's very easy to prepare and is a wonderful thirst-quencher in the summer. If you'd like to make a pitcher, use 3 tbsp. for every quart of water; bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes (I leave the pot covered the entire time). Strain and chill. If you'd like to make a larger amount, increase the amount of barley but keep the water the same until you've strained it, then dilute with the correct proportion of room-temperature water--it's easier to handle a quart of boiling water than a larger amount.
                      You can also find parched, roasted corn in Korean stores that's used to make a drink called "oksusucha." I like to use 2 tbsp. barley and 1 tbsp. corn for my chilled "tea." Very refreshing and no sugar necessary although Il Hwa makes a barley soda I like called McCol that's (very) sweet.

                      1. re: MacGuffin

                        Thanks, MacGuffin...that's what I LOVE about going to ethnic places in big cities...you request tea with your meal and it's like a little adventure...they will invariably all bring something new or different to the table! At a Vietnamese place we went for lunch in SF, they brought a beautiful pot of genmaicha to our table...first time I'd ever had that, too! And also adored it! Where I live in SWFL, they just bring a pot of Lipton, oolong if you are very very lucky but haven't seen that in a few years even...ugh!

                        1. re: Val

                          We're getting OT here but if you like genmaicha, this is my favorite vendor for Japanese green tea: http://hibiki-an.com/ . I can safely assure you that theirs is a cut above what you'll find elsewhere because genmaicha isn't a high-end tea (that's why the rice is added). Very delicious and soothing.

                          1. re: MacGuffin

                            I hear you...I kind of like it that it's the working person's green tea...and I don't mind just buying a bag of loose genmaicha from my nearby Asian store...but thanks for the link! The toasted rice brings a great nuttiness to the green tea.

                            1. re: Val

                              Try the genmai matcha-iri; very rich.

                    2. re: MacGuffin

                      I think it was first used in wartime and other periods of shortages. But some people grew to appreciate the taste, and, of course, it was a caffiene-free alternative hot beverage.