Orzo means “barley” in Italian and undoubtedly derived the name from a similarity in shape to the ancient grain.  A rice-like pasta from Italy is often substituted in America for Arborio rice in risotto style dishes.  Similar pastas can be found in Greek cooking and are commonly seen in avgolemono soupa (egg and lemon soup).  Recently, certified organic orzo has become available here and this recipe takes advantage of this tender man made grain.


Orzo, Spinach and Leek Risotto

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups leeks, sliced thin

1 cup garnet yam, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 1/2 cups water

1 bay leaf

3/4 cup organic orzo

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 cups packed baby spinach leaves

1 teaspoon dill weed

Heat a sauté pan on medium heat, cook oil, leeks and yams for 1 minute.  Add water and bay leaf, bring to a simmer and add orzo. Cover and simmer until orzo has absorbed most of the water.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer again until water is absorbed.  Turn off and let rest for a few minutes before serving.  

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