The (short) Scoop on Orzo

As I was preparing recipes for my Healthy Cooking with Herbs & Spices class later this month I came across a recipe for Parmesan Basil Orzo. I thought it sounded great so I added it to the recipe list. I soon realized though that many people in this area have no idea what orzo is.  This is not very surprising since most Oklahoman’s (including myself) like to stick to our traditional meat, potatoes, green beans, and corn diet. So what is orzo? A rice? A grain? A vegetable?

Actually orzo is a pasta! Just by the looks of orzo though I can tell how one would easily be confused. The word orzo actually means “barley” in Italian because of it’s close resemblance to the grain. Orzo is frequently used in soups but has recently become more popular in side dish and salad recipes. It is versatile and easy to change up by adding basic ingredients like herbs, cheese, or olive oils. One serving of orzo contains around 200 calories, but just like any pasta how much you “dress it up” really effects the calorie content. Another great thing about orzo is there are no special instructions or tutorials needed when it comes to cooking it. You can prepare orzo just like you would any other pasta, by boiling it in water.

Many of us get weary of trying new foods, we like to stick to what we know, the tried and true recipes. However branching out and trying new foods can be fun and exciting. I think orzo is a great place to start when trying new foods. So add some orzo to your next bowl of soup, or eat it as a side dish with your next meal.

HERE is a link to some great orzo recipes to get you started!

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