Friday, September 19, 2014

Easy Cheesy Orzo Pasta

I love pastina or as it's more commonly known in my house, tiny soup pasta because I typically use it for soups and it's - you guessed it - tiny! Orzo is one type of pastina that's absolutely lovely as it's own dish, no soup required. I love to make this Easy Cheesy Orzo Pasta for lunch when I'm on my own by just halving the ingredients below or for a quick dinner when there's no time and the fridge is bare, though I'll admit I'm not above making all of it and noshing on the rest a bit later when it's cold - just as yummy… It's sort of like macaroni and cheese, but nicer and it's also a little plain, so you could potentially dress it up for different flavor combos with chorizo, pancetta or some vegetables, however it's also great as an accompaniment to fish or chicken for a sturdier meal.

200g Orzo Pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes (more if you like)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
Sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil with a drop of olive oil (any cooking oil will do).
  2. Add the orzo pasta to the boiling water and cook according to pasta packet instructions.
  3. Before straining the pasta, reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Strain the pasta.
  4. In the same hot pan placed back on the heat while the pasta is in the strainer, add the butter and melt it. 
  5. When the butter is melted, add about 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water while stirring with a whisk. This will create an emulsion.
  6. Stir in the lemon zest and dried chili flakes and add more water if needed, a small spoonful at a time.
  7. Still using the whisk, stir in the parmesan cheese until it's melty and gloopy. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  8. Add the pasta to the mixture and toss to coat, adding more of the pasta cooking water no more than 1 tablespoon at a time, if the mixture is too dry. Continue tossing and stirring until all the pasta is coated with the sauce.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.


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