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This 30-minute Orzo Risotto recipe is addictively decadent. It’s made with orzo pasta instead of arborio rice but is just as creamy, flavorful, and cheesy as traditional risotto!
Is making risotto with orzo traditional? No. Is orzo risotto delicious and cheesy? Absolutely!
I encourage you to try this Orzo Risotto recipe stat. It’s creamy, cheesy, and irresistible, just like orzo with arborio rice. But by swapping the rice with orzo (a rice-shaped pasta), the flavors and velvety texture get even better and the cooking process is much less complicated.
In fact, the only difference between orzo risotto and regular risotto is the orzo itself. All other steps, from toasting the orzo to slowly incorporating warm broth, are the same. Thus, you end up with a decadent batch of risotto you won’t even notice isn’t authentic!
- If you’re new to making risotto, turn to orzo risotto! Orzo is much easier and faster to cook than arborio rice and makes this classic meal less complicated.
- You don’t need any fancy or complicated ingredients to make this risotto recipe. Pasta, wine, aromatics, broth, and cheese work their magic to give you a decadent, uncomplicated dish.
- There are layers of addictive Italian flavors in every bite, making this one of the best side dishes or mains you can ever make.
Orzo - Orzo is a type of short-grain pasta that looks and cooks just like rice. This makes it the perfect substitute for arborio rice, the traditional grain in risotto recipes, and a starchy and comforting addition to chicken soup and pasta salad. You should be able to easily find it in the Italian food aisle at most major grocery stores.
Shallot and garlic - These elegant aromatics give the risotto a savory baseline of flavor. If you don’t have shallots, you can use yellow onions instead.
Parmesan cheese - Always shred the parmesan cheese straight from the block!
Vegetable broth - The orzo soaks up the broth slowly, giving the pasta irresistible layers of flavor and a tender texture. Instead of vegetable broth, feel free to use chicken broth or bone broth.
Dry white wine - Like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. It’s always best to use a wine you already enjoy sipping by the glass.
Step 1: Saute the aromatics. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s hot and melted, add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Add the garlic when the shallots are soft and fragrant.
Step 2: Toast the orzo. Pour the orzo pasta into the pan and stir continuously until the pasta takes on a light golden color.
Step 3: Add the wine. Pour the wine into the pan and stir until it evaporates.
Step 4: Add the broth. Turn the heat down, then pour in some of the warmed broth. Let it simmer until the orzo absorbs the broth. Repeat this process until the orzo is cooked through and the consistency is creamy.
Step 5: Stir in the cheese. Take the pan off of the heat and gradually add the parmesan and parsley. Stir until the cheese melts. Season the risotto with salt and pepper, then serve. Enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Always toast the orzo. It’s the secret to avoiding mushy risotto!
- Adjust the flavor of the risotto by changing the cheese. Instead of parmesan, use mascarpone, mozzarella, or Pecorino Romano.
- You can make a dairy free version of this recipe by swapping the regular butter for vegan butter and omitting the cheese.
Keep the broth in a saucepan over medium-low heat while you make the risotto. The broth must be warm for risotto! Using cold or room temperature broth means that the pasta will cook unevenly.
How should you serve orzo risotto?
Risotto can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or main meal. Its rich and decadent flavor profile means it pairs well with lighter proteins and mains, like fish en papillote, baked salmon, and sun-dried tomato chicken. For an even lighter meal, pair the risotto with a pesto chicken salad and garlic bread.
What can you add to risotto?
Can I make risotto without wine?
You sure can. Simply replace the wine with more vegetable broth.
Refrigerator: Pack the leftover risotto in an airtight container and store it in the fridge. It’s best when it’s eaten within 2 or 3 days.
Reheat: The best way to reheat orzo risotto is in a saucepan with a splash of water or broth. Heat over medium heat, stirring intermittently, until the water/broth is absorbed and the pasta is heated through.
More decadent side dishes to try
If you made and loved this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below!
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 large shallot diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup orzo
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups warmed (warm in the microwave or over the stovetop) vegetable broth (add more broth if needed)
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- ½ teaspoon black pepper plus more to taste
- Melt butter in a medium-large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and stir for another minute.
- Add the orzo and keep stirring until pasta is lightly golden for about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and stir until the wine has evaporated; reduce heat to medium-low.
- Pour ½ cup of the warmed broth into the saucepan and stir. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the broth is absorbed. Add the broth ½ cup at a time, repeating this process, until the orzo is cooked through and the consistency is creamy, about 16-20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the parmesan and parsley to the saucepan. Stir until the cheese has melted. Add the black pepper and more salt to taste. Enjoy!