What to do with leftover orzo pasta

Orzo pasta is small-cut pasta, and used as a base for many pasta dishes as well as in soups. So, what’s the best way to use it? Find out how you can use up orzo pasta in your cooking.

What to do with leftover orzo pasta

What is orzo?

Orzo is a type of small pasta. It’s the Italian word for ‘barley’, and it’s pronounced OR-zoh. It does indeed look just like a grain of rice or barley. It’s not quite interchangeable for those ingredients, but it can make a great base for stews, salads and for risotto-style recipes.

It works well eaten hot or cold, much like rice and other small pastas.

If however, you come across the name ‘orzotto’, that’s often a risotto-style dish made with barley – so do check the ingredients before you get started!

How long do you cook orzo for?

According to the packet instructions, usually a simmer for around 8-10 minutes. Or, if following a recipe, cook as described in the method in case it’s different.

Three recipes with orzo pasta

How to use up leftover orzo pasta

If you’ve got just a small amount:

  • Minestrone with orzo
    Give minestrone a twist by using orzo instead of small tubes of pasta. Boil in salted water for 1-2 minutes less than the pack says, then add to the soup just before serving.

Or, if you’ve got more:

  • Creamy orzo side dish
    Cook 500g orzo in vegetable stock according to the packet, then drain, reserving 100ml cooking liquid. Fry chopped onion, carrot and celery in butter until soft, then add 1 crushed garlic clove and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked orzo, 100ml cream and the reserved cooking liquid with a handful of frozen peas. Simmer until cooked, season, then serve with grated parmesan.

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