Tired of the same old shells? Try this recipe for Orzo Pasta — little grains of pasta that taste great with any and all ingredients and sauces. It’s quick and easy and so delicious.
I have a confession to make: I didn’t know what orzo was until much later than I should have. I never noticed it at the grocery store and, maybe because of its shape, I presumed it was some sort of grain. Well, was I wrong! It is indeed a pasta and, because of that shape, it almost redefines all those pasta dishes you’ve been making over the years. Like this one with mozzarella, basil, and tomato. You’ll find it takes the best qualities of a risotto and a pasta dish to create something totally new and exciting. Try it!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- We are all about quick and delicious recipes and this one is a great weeknight go-to for when you are pushed for time.
- The kids will love the oozy mozzarella. It’s a step up from macaroni and cheese but still delivers that taste and texture your family enjoy.
- Orzo pasta is such a comfort food, you might find you need to double up this recipe to accommodate second servings!
A very simple recipe, like most pasta dishes. Even if you have never cooked with orzo before, you’ll master this one in no time.
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup mozzarella, grated
- 1 small handful of basil
- salt and pepper
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add a pinch of salt and the orzo pasta. Cook until soften, about 5 – 8 minutes, then drain in a colander, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pasta water.
- In a skillet over MEDIUM heat, melt half the butter. Fry the garlic and tomatoes for 5 minutes. Toss continuously to make sure the tomatoes cook on all sides and the garlic doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add in the mozzarella and the pasta water and stir. The mozzarella will become all gooey while the pasta water will help the tomato juices form a nice sauce to coat the pasta. Add in the torn basil, salt, and pepper.
- Add in the cooked orzo pasta and the rest of the butter. Mix it together and serve.
I really do think you should attempt your tried-and-true pasta dishes, substituting orzo for those noodles you’ve always reached for. Here are some off the site that I think would work well:
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta – This rich, creamy pumpkin pasta recipe turns pumpkin puree into delicious sauce with just a hint of cloves and nutmeg. The simple to prepare dish is fall comfort food at it’s best. I’m such a sucker for a good one-pot recipe.
One-Pot Loaded Veggie Pasta – One-Pot Loaded Veggie Pasta is simple to prepare and loaded with summer’s bounty. This one pot meal is the perfect dish to prepare after a trip to the farmer’s market.
Greek Pasta Salad – With the warm weather upon us, now is the perfect time to share this Greek Pasta Salad recipe. This crowd pleasing recipe is the perfect summer side for picnics and backyard cookouts.
Lemon Macaroni Salad – I am not at all a fan of macaroni pasta salad that tastes like vinegar which is in many of the classic recipes. I much prefer making mine with a creamy mayonnaise and lemon sauce.
Orzo is pasta shaped like rice. “Orzo” means “barley” in Italian, a name it earned most likely due to its resemblance to barley grain.
Absolutely, you can use any pasta you like, just cook it to the package instructions.
Yes you can use any cheese you like, parmesan is a really nice option.
Orzo, being made from wheat flour, has more protein generally than white rice. It also has a slightly lower glycemic index so it affects your blood sugar levels less than rice. Both are refined grains, though, so eat in moderation.
Sure. With a bit of oil in a pan, you can toast orzo before boiling. Doing so gives it a nutty flavor and slightly firmer texture.
How to Store Orzo Pasta
Let the pasta dish cool completely. Put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also store it in the freezer if you want it to stick around longer. Store it the same way you would store it for the fridge. In the freezer, it should last up to 3 months. When you want to reheat it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Then heat it on LOW on the stove. You may want to add some sauce or water if the dish seems dry.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the orzo pasta. Cook until softened, about 5 – 8 minutes, then drain in a colander. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pasta water.
- In a skillet over MEDIUM heat, melt half the butter. Fry the garlic and tomatoes for 5 minutes. Continuously toss to make sure the tomatoes cook on all sides and the garlic doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mozzarella and the pasta water and stir. The mozzarella will become all gooey while the pasta water will help the tomato juices form a nice sauce to coat the pasta. Add in the torn basil, salt, and pepper.
- Add the cooked orzo pasta and the rest of the butter. Mix it together and serve.