Orzo is a wheat pasta shaped liked grains of rice and barley. The word means barley in Italian and it’s a reference to the size and shape of the pasta. It is commonly used in Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern cuisines with soups, salads, pilafs, casseroles, and as stuffing for peppers and squash. The delicate grains can be tricky to work with because it can quickly be overcooked and turn mushy. But don’t let that turn you away from orzo, it is quite versatile and a great ingredient to use do to its ability to absorbs flavors well.
These little flat grains have become one of my favorite quick meal ingredients. Cooking time is minimal and their ability to take on different forms is something we can all appreciate. I’ve mostly cooked orzo in pilaf and risotto style dishes, and every time the results have been quite tasty.
Today I want to share one of our favorite ways of eating orzo — steak and cremini mushroom pilaf. I’m sure we can all agree that beef and mushrooms are wonderful together, and mixing them into a creamy orzo dish just accentuates the great combination. My recipe is straightforward and so perfect for both busy or lazy days. No need to worry that flavor will be sacrificed for minimal effort — this dish is packed with plenty of good taste.
- one 500 gm or 1 lb. bag of orzo pasta
- 330 gm or ¾ lb. thinly sliced steak*
- 830 ml or 3.5 cups low sodium beef broth**
- 250 gm or ½ lb. pack cremini mushrooms (substitue w/baby portobello or button)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbs olive oil
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- parmesan cheese, to taste
- parsley for sprinkling
- Heat the olive in a large pan, saute the onions until translucent then add steak and cook through. Next add the mushrooms and cook until soften and their liquid has been cooked off. Add the minced garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Push all ingredients to one side then add the orzo pasta. Stirring often cook the orzo for a few minutes, it should begin browning. Mix orzo with the rest of the pan ingredients, then pour in the broth. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste, and simmer over medium heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed. (If orzo has not cooked through stir in a little bit more broth.)
- Once orzo has cooked add grated parmesan cheese to taste, stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Right before serving sprinkle in finely chopped parsley.
I served our “pilaf” with grilled zucchini which was sliced thinly, coated in olive oil, salt, ground black pepper then grilled. Feel free to serve with green vegetable of choice. You’ll also notice the piece of bread, I can’t resist carbs with carbs. Enjoy the recipe!
What is your favorite way of cooking orzo?