- 3 tbsp olive or canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 tsp bottled minced garlic, drained
- 2 cups orzo
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 3 cups boiling water
- small splash white cooking wine (optional)
- salt to taste
- Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Sautee fresh garlic for five minutes, or bottled for two.
- Add orzo and, if you’re using it, wine; sautee five minutes.
- Mix in broth, water, and salt. Simmer uncovered until orzo is tender, liquid is absorbed, and risotto is creamy, stirring often.
- Remove from heat, and consult the list below for add-ins if desired. Be sure meats and vegetables are cooked/warmed up before you add them.
Please note that I have never tried this recipe with whole-wheat/vegan orzo, but any pasta with a reasonable amount of starch should still get nice and creamy. Now then - you can turn a versatile side into a proper meal with a half- or quarter-cup of any of the following, according to your dietary needs and restrictions. Keep total add-ins to a cup or less, both in the name of price and maintaining your risotto’s consistency.
- Plain Parmesan or vegan Parmesan
- Shredded chicken
- Shredded spinach (squeeze the moisture out before adding it)
- Diced or sliced mushrooms (sautee these with the garlic until tender)
- Canned miniature pink shrimp, drained and rinsed
- Green peas
- Crumbled bacon
- Chopped asparagus
- Butternut squash (mash and stir in during the last three minutes of cooking; a sprinkle of nutmeg is strongly recommended)
Think something else might taste good in there? Experiment! Cheater’s risotto is astoundingly forgiving; just mind the moisture levels and you’ll do fine. Happy cooking!