Orzo Pasta Salad with Tomatoes & Parmesan

July 21, 2021

Here is the Orzo Pasta Recipe that you will prepare with some tomatoes, garlic and parmesan. Start cooking now!

Looking for an orzo dinner recipe that only needs a couple of fresh ingredients and is ready in less than 20 minutes? If there was a list of the 10 best orzo recipes, this gluten-free orzo pasta with tomatoes and Parmesan would definitely be one of them. Out of many authentic orzo recipes, this recipe is quick, easy, and so delicious.

Gluten-Free Orzo PastaPhoto By Canva
Taste Score: %88
Difficulty Easy
Servings 4 people
Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 15 mins
Total 20 mins

Tips

  • This recipe calls for fresh tomatoes, but you can also use canned ones if fresh tomatoes aren't available. For best results, use diced canned tomatoes or chop whole canned tomatoes into smaller pieces before using them.
  • Don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water and add it to the sauce. Pasta water is excellent for thickening the sauce and helps it stick to the pasta due to the starch in it.
  • Use shredded Parmesan cheese in this recipe to both season the sauce and help it better coat the pasta.
  • Orzo pasta takes very little time to cook, so be careful not to overcook it. Always check the package to see the recommended cook time as different pasta brands have different sizes and cook times.
  • Feel free to serve.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil after adding salt. Add the orzo pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or according to the package directions.
  2. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it after reserving about 1/3 cup of the pasta water.
  3. Then take a large, deep skillet and add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to it. Cook on medium heat and add the cooked orzo pasta, tomatoes, basil, and parmesan cheese once the olive oil starts to bubble around the garlic.
  4. Now add two tablespoons of the previously reserved pasta water to the skillet and cook for about a minute while stirring frequently. If the sauce isn’t coating the pasta yet, add a splash or more of the reserved pasta water as required until the sauce sticks to the pasta.
  5. Taste the pasta and adjust seasoning as required before removing it from the stove and serving with extra basil, parmesan, and freshly ground black pepper.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Gluten-Free Orzo Pasta
Serves 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories351
% Daily Value*
Protein 11.9 g23.8%
Total Fat 14.5 g18.6%
Cholesterol 7 mg2.3%
Sodium 465 mg20.2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

What Is Orzo Pasta?

Orzo pasta is a kind of short-cut pasta that resembles large grains of rice in shape and is most often made from white flour but can also be made from whole grain. It is known as 'Rossini' in Italy and is traditionally used in Italian wedding soup.

As for the origins of this complex pasta, orzo was first created in Italy but is often associated with Greek cuisine due to its popularity in Greece. It is also highly versatile, easy to cook, and compatible with many different cooking styles.

Is Orzo A Pasta Or Rice?

So the age-old question, is orzo pasta or rice? Despite orzo looking a lot like rice, it isn't actually rice or even made from it. Orzo is actually a kind of pasta made from durum wheat and processed to look like large rice grains. Its name 'orzo' is Italian for 'barley' due to the pasta's resemblance to the grain's unprocessed form, and it's classified as 'pastina', a class of tiny pasta most often used for soups.

Never try to use orzo and rice interchangeably, as they are two completely different things with completely different textures. Orzo may be shaped to look like rice, but it is still pasta and cooked quite differently from rice for best results. If you are afraid of accidentally mixing the two up, be sure to label them properly and even keep them in separate cabinets if possible.

Is Orzo Pasta Vegan?

Yes! Unlike many other kinds of pasta, orzo is generally vegan-friendly as it is made with just flour, water, and salt and doesn't contain any eggs or dairy. Orzo is also pretty healthy as it is a good source of thiamin and niacin and also has some vitamin B6, folate, iron, and zinc.

And although this orzo recipe isn’t really vegan due to the addition of Parmesan cheese, you can easily make it so by using vegan Parmesan cheese instead of the animal-derived kind.

How Long Do You Cook Orzo For Al Dente?

Al dente pasta is cooked, so it's tender but still offers some resistance when bitten into. To cook your gluten-free orzo pasta to al dente, have it simmer in a pot of salted water for about 8-10 minutes, or however long the package instructions tell you to. Bite into a piece of pasta a minute or so before package instructions indicate doneness to check for al dente. Once the pasta tastes cooked but is still firm to the bite, it is al dente and should be removed from the stove and drained immediately.

Why Is My Orzo Sticky?

Orzo pasta has a much greater tendency to stick when compared to other types of pasta due to its greater surface area and small size. More often than not, sticky orzo means it was either cooked for too long or had too little water added to it.

To prevent your orzo pasta from sticking, stir frequently while it’s cooking and rinse it with cold water immediately after draining. You can also add a little oil to the pasta to prevent sticking if not using immediately. As for how to unstick already stuck pasta, plunge it in boiling water with a tablespoon of oil or butter added and drain again.

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