Risotto is a delicious, yet time-consuming dish. On a weeknight, the last thing you want to do is spend twenty minutes constantly stirring rice on the stove. A delicious and versatile substitute for a creamy risotto is orzo – a tiny pasta that can absorb liquid in a similar manner that rice does.
Instead of cooking the orzo in an abundance of salted water, you’ll want to cook it in just enough stock so that the pasta gets cooked through and absorbs most of the liquid – for 1 ½ cups of orzo, about two cups of stock should work. Using stock instead of plain water is important – you want to imbue the pasta with as much flavor as possible. I prefer chicken stock over beef – it’s complimentary to more flavors and beef can come across as bit much. It’s should only take 5-6 minutes for it to cook through, and in the last few minutes of cooking you’ll want to add your other seasoning. One of my favorite ways to make it is to add herbs de provence and a little sautéed chopped shallot. You can also do thyme with mushrooms, artichoke hearts with capers and a little lemon juice, or whatever you happen to have a taste for. It goes well with a little salad and rolls for a light lunch, or served alongside roasted chicken or sautéed fish for dinner. Give it a try – it’s a nice alternative to potatoes or rice.