Creating the Perfect Orzo Pasta

A Bay Area foodie shares her recipe

Orzo pasta is such a versatile and adaptable ingredient that I usually keep a box in my kitchen for quick, last-minute dinners. I often add it to salads, soups and one-pot meals in general.

Many of the ingredients in this dish are interchangable, so I encourage you to experiment. You can substitute Pecorino for the Parmesan, beef or vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and substitute the artichokes with a different vegetable.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound orzo
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup marinated artichokes, drained and quartered
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook over high heat, pressing to flatten and break up into bite-size pieces, until cooked through, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan.

2. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the stock and 2 cups of water and cook, stirring constantly, until the orzo is al dente and suspended in a thick creamy broth, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the sausage, artichokes and cheese to the orzo. Cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Serve the orzo risotto in bowls, garnished with extra cheese on top.

Mariam Hosseini is a Bay Area native who has been writing about food and travel for six years. She blogs regularly at

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