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Mar 12, 2010 01:45 PM

How to prepare orzo. Can I make in rice cooker?

I joined Chowhound recently so I could ask questions about rice cookers. Well now I've got my new Zojirushi NS-ZCC18, and I'm wondering if I can make orzo in it. Nothing in the "Ultimate rice cooker cookbook."

For a farewell dinner for a friend, I"m making lemon chicken in the Crockpot, hummus and pita, and figured I'd just make jasmine rice to go with it. Then I thought about roasted potatoes (since I'm a little riced out already). But then I came across a package of Misko orzo that we bought at a local farmers market. A Greek restaurant owner uses it all the time and apparently people ask for it. The directions are all in Greek and I've never made orzo. (The only thing in English is "Risoni Large" which means nothing to me.)

Not looking for anything fancy, just plain old orzo as a side dish. Should I try it in the rice cooker? Or should I just roast up some potatoes? (Do roasted potatoes fit the Greek lemon chicken theme? Can you tell I'm not Greek? :-)


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  1. orzo is pasta, not rice, so i wouldn't recommend using the rice cooker for it unless you really know what you're doing (or can get a tried & true recipe with the proper proportions from someone)...otherwise you may end up with a mushy, overcooked mess.

    prepare it the way you would any pasta - add to boiling water & cook until tender, usually about 7 or 8 minutes. drain well and proceed with recipe/seasoning.

    back when i could eat pasta, i used to make a delicious orzo dish with fresh thyme, sliced olives, dried cherries and crumbled feta...i have to see if i can find it.

    in the meantime, you can get some ideas from the links in these search results:

    10 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Oh ghg, if you can dig up that orzo recipe w/the olives and the cherries . . . I'm drooling . . .


      1. re: gansu girl

        i promise i'll try to find it. if i can, i'll probably post it sometime later tomorrow.

        1. re: gansu girl

          found it!

          Makes 8-10 servings

          10 large black olives, pitted
          2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
          2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
          ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
          2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
          2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
          3-4 plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
          1 cup dried cherries (halved if very large)
          ½ cup crumbled feta cheese or ricotta salata
          ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
          freshly ground black pepper to taste

          1 lb dry orzo, cooked, cooled and transferred to large serving bowl

          Add first 7 ingredients (olives through tomatoes) to bowl of food processor, and blend until it reaches the consistency of a loose paste or very thick sauce. Pour or spoon over cooked orzo, and toss gently until thoroughly coated. Fold in cherries, cheese and nuts, and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Mmm mmmm mmmm - ghg you rock. Thanks for this - it's not only getting bookmarked, I'm printing it out to go in the folder of "to make" recipes! Perfect for grilling season!


            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Hey so similar to the one I make, different though I don't blend the first ingredients, or any for that matter. It;s amazing how dried cherries and balsamic tate together though isn't it?

              One box of the De Cecchio Orzo, cook a little on al dente drain, and then place in a bowl with about a Tablespoon of OO then mix through. set aside/
              1/2 cup dried cherry rough chop - not too small
              1/4 cup golden raisins-optional
              grape tomatoes and small mozzerella balls
              1/2 cup roasted pinon nuts
              1/2 cup red onion small dice
              1/2 cup fresh torn basil and fresh parsley if you have it, it adds a bit of freshness
              add everything to the orzo but the herbs, add enough balsamic to cover, not drench.
              then add a little more OO> sea salt, and black cracked pepper (lots at least I didn't say eyeball it.)
              Then mix lightly, being careful not to beat up the pasta. Then add the basil mix gently and adding until its gone. finish with the parsley
              salt and pepper again.
              Thats' it. Delicious and refreshing.

                1. re: drewb123

                  Whenever we plan parties, it never fails that two or three of my sweet friends request it. I had a similar salad at Wente's Vineyard awhile ago. They would use rice and if I remember right grapes, or raisins, been longer than I thought!. I changed it, because I happent to love orzo. Either way, do try it, and switch the ingredients to your taste, I promise you won't be disappointed.

          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

            are you speaking about the everything orzo dish from epi?

            1. re: drewb123

              nope. different one - i posted mine above.

          3. Orzo is pasta and cooks up in minutes --no need to use a rice cooker. IT cooks in 4-5 minutes in boiling water.

            1. This is my quick and easy go-to orzo recipe. I like to serve it with lemon chicken.

              Orzo With Basil

              3 tablespoons butter
              1½ cups orzo
              3 cups chicken broth
              ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
              6 tablespoons fresh, julienned basil
              kosher salt
              freshly ground pepper

              Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add orzo and sauté 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Mix in Parmesan and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

              1 Reply
              1. re: decolady

                made this last nite, used 1/2 butter and added toasted pine nuts! outstanding Thanks!

              2. Orzo takes a few minutes in a pot of boiling salted water- like pasta.

                But if you do decide to make roasted potatoes- I saw a Greek inspired recipes of roasted potatoes tossed with pureed kalamata olives. I can look for the exact proportions for you if you'd like.

                1. As far as I can tell, risoni large means soup pasta, referring to the small shape, soup pasta, risi = risoni = pasta a riso. In Italian, risoni means paddies, according to my translator. There's no Greek word for risoni, although orzo in Greek is κριθαράκι.
                  It seems that the Misko brand has Risoni on the label to indicate soup pasta and the orzo is made from Greek wheat.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    In Italian, riso = rice; orzo pasta is really closer to the shape of rice.

                    RisONI => "big rice(s)".
                    Maybe this orzo pasta shape is on the hefty side?

                    1. re: lidia

                      RisONI => "big rice(s)" I take it to mean the normal size of orzo, which is a bit bigger than rice grains anyway, hence the risONI. The paddies translation threw me a bit; I'm not sure what is meant by that, perhaps rice paddies,which is risaie in Italian.
                      It seems also that the Italian definition of orzo is barley, which might be just a general reference to a grain or grain shape, not specially meaning the grain barley. Now orzo and pearl barley do not share the same shape, as we know, but raw, unprocessed barley has an orzo-shaped grain.
                      I have also seen orzo referred to on bags of Italian brands of pasta as semi di melone, melon seeds.
                      Ok, enough of this. All I really am sure of is that orzo is good eating.