Al Dente On The Side: Basic Orzotto

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Not unlike a risotto, this basic orzotto requires a lot of babysitting, stirring, and stock. The difference is that while a serving or two of a risotto will fill your stomach, this is purely a side like rice pilaf or buttered noodles.

The key to a successful orzotto, much like a risotto, is to follow a specific process. Heat the saucepan, add the orzo and toast, saute the onion in butter in another pan, pour the toasted pasta over the top, begin adding broth, and stir constantly until all of the broth is gone. It’s a pretty brainless pursuit, but one you can easily screw up if you don’t pay attention.

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Basic Orzotto
By Jared Paventi

  • 1 qt. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock (your preference)
  • 8 to 10 oz. orzo pasta
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

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2014-11-19 at 18-01-00Bring a quart of stock to boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and let stand.

In a second saucepan or large skillet over high heat, add the orzo and toast, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vast majority of the pasta has changed color.

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In the meantime, saute onions in butter until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Once soft, transfer the pasta to the sauteed onions and toss to coat. Cook one minute in the butter, then add three ladlefuls of stock to the orzo.

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Bring the stock to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the broth is absorbed. Continue transferring stock to the orzotto, one ladle at a time, as the previous ladle has been absorbed. Eventually, you will have a creamy, thick sauce. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and stir to combine.

Serve hot.

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