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Uncooked orzo
Alternative namesRisoni
Place of originMediterranean Basin

Orzo (/ˈɔːrz, ˈɔːrts/;[1][2][3][4] lit.'barley'; Italian: [ˈɔrdzo]; from Latin hordeum),[5] also known as risoni (Italian: [riˈzoːni]; "large [grains of] rice"), is a form of short-cut pasta shaped like a large grain of rice.[6] Orzo is traditionally made from flour,[7] but it can also be made of whole grain. It is often made with semolina, a type of flour made from durum wheat.

The name orzo is common for this pasta shape in North America, but less so in Italy, where the word usually still means 'barley'.[citation needed]


There are many different ways to serve orzo. Orzo can be an ingredient in soup,[8] including avgolemono, a Greek soup,[9] and in Italian soups such as minestrone. It can also be part of a salad, a pilaf, or giouvetsi, or baked in a casserole.[10][6]

It can also be boiled and lightly fried, to create a dish similar to risotto.[citation needed][11]

When the pasta is made, the orzo can be colored by saffron, chilies, and black beans to yield yellow, orange, or black pasta.

Other names[edit]

Orzo is essentially identical to the κριθαράκι (kritharáki, lit.'little barley'), or μανέστρα (manestra when in soup) in Greek cuisine, arpa şehriye (lit.'barley noodle') in Turkish cooking, and لسان العصفور (lisān al-ʿaṣfūr, lit.'sparrow tongue') in Egyptian cooking. In Spain, the equivalent pasta is called piñones (also the Spanish word for pine nuts, which orzo resembles[12]). Ptitim is a rice-grain-shaped pasta developed in the 1950s in Israel as a substitute for rice.

It is also part of the traditional cuisine of the east of France, from Lorraine to Provence, where orzo is called pépinettes or riewele depending on the region. In Alsace, orzo is typically served in a chicken broth.

See also[edit]

Media related to Orzo at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ "orzo". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). HarperCollins. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "ORZO". Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  3. ^ "Orzo". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  4. ^ "orzo" (US) and "orzo". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2020-03-22.
  5. ^ "orzo". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Gadsden Times. Gadsden Times.
  7. ^ The Times-News. The Times-News.
  8. ^ Gadsden Times. Gadsden Times.
  9. ^ Spokane Chronicle. Spokane Chronicle.
  10. ^ Alfaro, Danilo. "What Is Orzo? Cooking and Recipes". The Spruce Eats. The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  11. ^ Kang, Kiran (17 September 2022). "What is Orzo and how to prepare". Archived from the original on 1 April 2023. Retrieved 17 September 2022.
  12. ^ Bangor Daily News. Bangor Daily News.