How to Cook Orzo Pasta

Orzo pasta is a delicious Italian pasta that you can add to your soups, salads, casseroles and pilafs instead of rice. You can find orzo in the Italian or Middle Eastern section of your grocery store, but it may be sold by one of its many other names, including puntaletti and romarino [source: Cadogan]. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to cook orzo pasta.

  • Greek orzo pasta salad Try preparing a cool, refreshing summer salad with orzo. Cook the orzo in boiling water until it's al dente, as you would any other pasta. Drain the orzo and then mix in sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta cheese. Dress the salad with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and your choice of dried or fresh herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste, and your orzo pasta salad is ready [source: Foodland].
  • Orzo minestrone Nothing warms you up on those cold winter nights like a hearty bowl of minestrone. The great thing about this soup is that you can add whatever vegetables you have in your kitchen. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot and add chopped onions and garlic. Add vegetable or beef broth and uncooked orzo. Then throw in chopped carrots, squash, potatoes, beans, tomatoes or whatever you choose. The orzo will absorb the flavors in the pot as it cooks. Once the orzo is soft and the vegetables are tender, the soup is ready to eat [source: Beck].

Remember that orzo is the perfect alternative to rice. It's small, like rice, and has a gentle flavor that won't overpower your main dish. The next time you bake salmon or grill shrimp, consider serving orzo pasta instead the traditional steamed rice side dish.