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How To Easily Cook Orzo In A Rice Cooker

orzo pasta salad with feta
orzo pasta salad with feta - Ingrid Balabanova/Shutterstock

Orzo is so often incorporated into creamy dishes that you could be forgiven for mistaking it for risotto, but in fact, orzo is not the rice you use for creamy mushroom risotto, but a tiny rice-shaped pasta made from wheat flour. Moreover, orzo is often served on its own as a fluffy side dish (perhaps dressed up with herbs or other ingredients) or even as the star of a pasta salad. When not incorporated into dishes like lemon chicken orzo soup, the pasta is typically cooked like any other; that is, in a pot of boiling, salted water. But there's nothing stopping you from making flawless orzo in a rice cooker -- and it's the soul of simplicity. Simply rinse one part pasta, add two parts water (and maybe a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt), engage the rice setting, and walk away. When it's done, you need only to fluff the cooked orzo with a fork and plate it up.

When using a traditional pot on a stovetop, over-boiling pasta can result in a mushy dish, and orzo is no different -- if you don't drain it when it's al dente, you're on your way to making a starchy gloop. Rice cookers don't rely on timing to create perfectly tender rice or orzo; they use a different mechanism altogether to sense the ideal end of the cooking process: temperature. Because of this, they can turn out perfect orzo every time.

Read more: 13 Tips To Make Your Shrimp Taste So Much Better

Rice Cookers Aren't Just For Rice Anymore

orzo in an instant pot
orzo in an instant pot - HannaTor/Shutterstock

Typically, orzo is rinsed and boiled in salted water for around eight minutes until it's al dente. If made in a rice cooker, the process is noticeably more thorough and precise, though it may take around 15 minutes before it's done cooking. For starters, the pasta-to-water ratio is set at 2:1. The combined weight of orzo and water inside the cooking insert depresses a sensor and engages an internal heating plate, which brings the water to a boil, cooking the pasta.

Here's where the vagaries of timing are done away with. Rice cookers don't rely on a timer, but rather a spring-loaded thermometer. Once the water (which can never get above 212 degrees Fahrenheit) is absorbed, the temperature of the orzo will begin to rise. This will be immediately sensed by the rice cooker's thermometer, which will shut off the heat, allowing the pasta to rest. Oh, by the way -- besides orzo, you can definitely cook almost any kind of pasta in a rice cooker. Welcome to this wonderful new world!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.