7 Ways To Cook With Orzo

A common replacement in risottos, orzo is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. From a portable avocado and asparagus pasta salad to a tasty Lebanese baked dish, here seven chefs share their favourite recipes using this versatile ingredient.
GEORGINA HAYDEN
Lebanese Spiced Lamb & Orzo Bake: Emma Spitzer, Staub
Lebanese Spiced Lamb & Orzo Bake: Emma Spitzer, Staub

Serves

6

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

2 Hours

Ingredients

2 -3 tbsp of olive oil
1kg of diced lamb shoulder
2 onions, finely diced
1 tbsp of za’atar
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 tbsp of Lebanese seven-spice mix
2 bay leaves
400g tin of chopped tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
1 .2l of chicken stock
2 tsp of date syrup
400g of orzo
75g of feta, crumbled
Handful of fresh oregano, roughly chopped for garnish

Method

Step 1

Heat the oven to 180°C/160·C Fan.

Step 2

Add the olive oil to a wide shallow braising pan with a lid and fry over the lamb, in batches if necessary, until golden. Set aside to a plate. Add the onion, za’atar, cinnamon sticks, spice mix and a little extra oil and fry gently for a few minutes until the onions have softened.

Step 3

Add the lamb back in to the pan with the onions and cover with the tomatoes and stock, and add the date syrup. Season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt if using a powdered stock). Cover with a lid and bake in the oven for 1.5 hours until the lamb is very tender.

Step 4

Remove the cinnamon sticks and add the orzo and stir well. Cover and return the pan to the oven to continue to cook for a further 25 minutes by which time the orzo should be cooked and the sauce nice and thick.

Step 5

Sprinkle the feta and fresh oregano over the top and serve.

Follow @EmmaSpitzer

Prawn, Pea & Watercress Orzo Risotto: Yeo Valley
Prawn, Pea & Watercress Orzo Risotto: Yeo Valley

Serves

6

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

1 Hour 30 Minutes

Ingredients

50g of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of salt
1 leek, washed
250g of orzo
1l of stock
100g of frozen peas
100g of sugar snap peas
leftover watercress, rocket, or pea shoots
250g of frozen prawns
50g of cheddar

Method

Step 1

In a shallow casserole dish or large frying pan add the butter, olive oil and finely sliced leek. Sweat down until soft. Add the orzo and give it a good mix. Add the stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile add half the peas, watercress and 2 tablespoons of water to a blender until you have a vibrant green smooth paste.

Step 3

Add the paste, prawns, remaining peas, sugar snap peas and watercress to the orzo. Cook for a few minutes until the prawns are pink but not small and shrivelled. Scatter with the grated cheddar and watercress to serve.
Chermoula Chicken & Orzo Traybake: Henry Russell, Belazu
Chermoula Chicken & Orzo Traybake: Henry Russell, Belazu

Serves

4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

1 Hour

Ingredients

4 chicken legs
150ml of extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 inches of ginger, peeled
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp of chermoula
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
400g of orzo pasta
400g of cherry tomatoes
100g of green or black olives

Method

Step 1

Heat an oven to 200°C. Put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat, add the olive oil, onions and carrots, season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes until soft and sweetened. Grate the ginger and the garlic into the pan and add the chermoula and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Step 2

Add the stock and bring up to a boil, then pour this into a roasting tray and add the orzo and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, then place the chicken legs on top. Dot the tomatoes around, tucking some of the tomatoes into the chicken and orzo. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Add the olives and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Step 3

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Visit Belazu.com

Mushroom & Butter Bean Orzo: Just Add Mushrooms
Mushroom & Butter Bean Orzo: Just Add Mushrooms

Serves

4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

30 Minutes

Ingredients

250g of portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 tin of butter beans, drained or 100g dried, soaked overnight and cooked until soft
1 tbsp of smoked paprika
150g of orzo pasta
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of tomato purée
Salt and pepper to season

Method

Step 1

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the orzo. Cook according to the instructions on the packet and drain, reserving about half the cooking liquid.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan with the olive oil and add the onion, garlic and paprika. Season with salt and cook on a medium heat for about five minutes until soft.

Step 3

Add the mushrooms, stir well and cook until soft. You could also add a splash of red wine now if you fancy.

Step 4

Tip in the butter beans and tomato purée then add the orzo with the reserved cooking water. Gently mix all together and cook for a few minutes. Serve with lots of chopped fresh parsley if you have any.
Asparagus, Chicken & Spinach Orzo: Enjoy Asparagus
Asparagus, Chicken & Spinach Orzo: Enjoy Asparagus

Serves

4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

35 Minutes

Ingredients

1 tsp of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 banana shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g of orzo
100ml of chicken stock
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed and cut into pieces
Zest and juice of a lemon
115g of baby spinach
1 tbsp of grated parmesan, plus extra for serving

Method

Step 1

Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Season the chicken and add to the pan, frying until golden all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set to one side.

Step 2

Add another 2 tsp of olive oil to the pan and sauté the shallots and garlic for a couple of minutes, until starting to soften. Add the orzo, give it a good stir and then add the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 3

Add the asparagus, put the lid back on and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Step 4

Add the lemon juice and zest, cooked chicken and the spinach and cook for a further few minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the spinach is just wilted.

Step 5

Stir through the parmesan and serve with extra on the side.
Avocado & Asparagus Pasta Salad: Georgia Levy, Oddbox
Avocado & Asparagus Pasta Salad: Georgia Levy, Oddbox

Serves

4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

30 Minutes

Ingredients

250g of orzo
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
150g of frozen or fresh peas
200g of asparagus, tough ends discarded and sliced
2 big handfuls of whatever herbs you have, such as dill, parsley, mint or basil, chopped
2 avocados
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
40g of pine nuts, toasted

Method

Step 1

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions until al dente.

Step 2

Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the garlic until it begins to colour on the sides. Immediately add the peas and asparagus, a small splash of water and a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes until the asparagus is tender.

Step 3

Scoop the avocado out its skin into a bowl, zest over the lemon and mash with a fork. Stir into the veg pan along with the herbs. Squeeze over the lemon juice and season well. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Step 4

Once the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving a cup of cooking water. Place the vegetable pan back on the heat and stir in the pasta, tossing it in the sauce. Add a few splashes of cooking water until you have a nice smooth sauce. Transfer to plates, zest over more lemon and sprinkle over the pine nuts before serving.

Visit Oddbox.co.uk

One-Pan Orzo With Broccoli & Olives, Tenderstem
One-Pan Orzo With Broccoli & Olives, Tenderstem

Serves

4

Difficulty

Easy

Total Time

35 Minutes

Ingredients

3 tbsp of olive oil
½ bunch of basil, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
¼ tsp of red chilli flakes
1l of vegetable stock
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g of Tenderstem broccoli
75g of pitted green olives
200g of orzo
60g of halloumi, grated

Method

Step 1

Place a large saucepan on a medium heat. Drizzle in the olive oil and fry the chopped basil stalks, sliced garlic and chilli for a minute or two until golden. Add the vegetable stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Season well, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Roughly chop the broccoli and olives. When the sauce is ready stir them into the pan, along with the orzo and bring it back to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 18-20 minutes, until the orzo is cooked through.

Step 3

When it's ready, taste and tweak the seasoning, drizzle in a little more oil and tear in the reserved basil leaves. Finish with the grated halloumi and serve.

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