Orzo is a type of pasta made from whole-wheat flour, semolina flour (a product of durum wheat), white flour, or whole-grain flour that manufacturers cut into a shape similar to grains of rice. It can appear white or yellow in color due to variations in its ingredients. A common ingredient in Italian cuisine, orzo is also known as risoni or pastina, an Italian term for a form of small [pastas](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/types-of-pasta-and-how-to-serve-them). \nOrzo pasta is a versatile pasta, so you have lots of options when it comes to preparing and enjoying it. Home cooks can take on an orzo recipe easily, as it cooks similar to other Italian pastas, with little to no prep time. \n\nFirst, you boil salted water, then you add the orzo. Cook one cup orzo for roughly eight minutes or until it’s al dente (tender but with a slight chew). Make sure not to overcook it, otherwise you will have mushy orzo. Drain the excess water from the pot and add your cooked orzo to your favorite meal. Orzo can be a side dish, topped with some pesto, or the base for a pasta salad. Alternatively, mix it with feta cheese and olive oil. \nOrzo pasta pairs well with a variety of ingredients you would normally use in other Italian pasta recipes. It’s similar in shape and size to grains of rice, so you could also use it in a pilaf dish. Here are five ways to consider using orzo: \n\n1. __Faux risotto__: Substitute orzo for [arborio rice](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-arborio-rice-basic-arborio-rice-risotto-recipe) the next time you plan to make risotto. Orzo lacks the starch that the arborio rice possesses, so the former can add a chewy, rather than creamy, texture to each bite.\n2. __Kritharaki__: This Greek dish consists of orzo with red sauce. \n3. __Mediterranean couscous salad__: Substitute orzo for [couscous](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/healthy-couscous-recipes) in a cold, Mediterranean-style salad. Other ingredients you can consider include quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, and fresh parsley or basil. Toss everything with a little lemon juice or olive oil. \n4. __Orzo soup__: You can make orzo soup with a variety of bases, including chicken stock, chicken broth, or vegetable broth. Mix in some chickpeas, fresh basil, or other fresh herbs, and cook the ingredients over medium heat. Add the orzo to the pot later in the cooking process so you can avoid overcooking it, which will cause it to become mushy. \n5. __Pasta salad__: Orzo, as a pasta, can serve as the main ingredient or a complementary ingredient in a variety of pasta salads. Add your chopped veggies of choice plus shredded spinach or arugula and a little Parmesan cheese.\nBecome a better chef with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com). Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by the world’s best, including Yotam Ottolenghi, Gabriela Cámara, Chef Thomas Keller, Dominique Ansel, Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, and more.\nOrzo is a type of pasta that looks like rice but is actually pasta made from a whole grain, semolina, or white flour.