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? :-)
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
re: gansu girl
re: gansu girl
GHG’S GREEK ORZO SALAD W/DRIED CHERRIES
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.
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.
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.