Warm Greek Orzo with Feta and Tomato

This delicious and comforting recipe is perfect! Creamy and silky warm orzo pasta cooked to perfection with tomato and topped with tangy feta.

Orzo recipe

If you are looking for ideas and recipes using orzo, this is it! This dish is a typical comfort food for us here in Greece. Creamy orzo cooked until soft and creamy and topped with feta. Greeks and Italians love orzo but use it differently. In Italian cuisine it is typically added in a soup or served as a side, in Greek cuisine we usually cook it with other ingredients as we are doing here, or in a casserole along with meat.

What is Orzo

Orzo is a type of pasta that has the shape of a wheat or barley grain and is about the size of rice. It is a common pasta in Greek and Italian cuisine. In Greek it is also called kritharaki (which means barley) or minestra. It is made from durum wheat. Orzo does taste like pasta because it is pasta.

How to Cook Orzo

How to cook orzo

Typically, the description for how to cook orzo is to basically boil it in water like you would pasta. Cook it for about 8 minutes and you are done. But, in Greek cuisine we cook it a bit differently. We cook it with other ingredients, and it absorbs all the flavors making it a wonderfully flavorful dish. For example, we have the yiouvetsi, where we may cook the orzo along with chicken or beef or lamb. You can check out the easy one pot chicken yiouvetsi recipe here >> One Pot Greek Chicken with Kritharaki (Orzo) and Tomato
When cooked with other ingredients it gets this risotto like texture and it is delicious! This is how this recipe is made.

Ingredients

  • Orzo: There is only one type of classic orzo and that is made from durum wheat. There are other types on the market including whole grain, gluten free etc. You will have to adjust cooking times if you choose an alternative.
  • Tomato: For this recipe I use crushed tomato. In the summer when tomatoes are in season, I’ll use fresh tomato and pass it through the food processor. In the winter I use crushed tomato in a carton or bpa free canned crushed tomatoes.
  • Olive Oil: We use extra virgin olive oil here. Make sure the olive oil is fresh it plays an important role in the flavor.
  • Onion: Sauteing the onion at the beginning of this dish provides a flavor base.
  • Herbs: For this recipe I used dry oregano and fresh parsley.
  • Feta: Use authentic feta that is made from sheep’s milk. I grated the feta in the larger holes of the grater. You can also omit the feta if you wish.

How to Make Greek Orzo with Feta and Tomato

  1. Start by heating the olive oil in deep pan and sauté the onion until translucent for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue sauteing for 1 minute.
  2. Add the orzo and mix, making sure all the rice is coated with olive oil. Add the tomato, 1 ½ cup hot water, ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, stir and simmer covered for about 12-15 minutes until cooked with a bit of juice left. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking. Check and add additional hot water ¼ cup at a time if needed.
  3. When done it will still be slightly liquid and have a risotto like texture. Covered and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. To serve, place in a shallow bowl, add feta, sprinkle with parsley, oregano, and finish with ground black pepper.

Secrets for The Best Orzo

Warm Greek Orzo with Feta and Tomato
  • Sauté the orzo slightly in olive oil before cooking, that gives it extra flavor.
  • Cook with other ingredients, rather than just boiling it in water, cook it in the juices of a meat or seafood you cooked or in broth or like here with tomato.
  • Make sure you add enough water and don’t overcook them; you want them just right. In Greek cuisine orzo is enjoyed soft and creamy not al dente.

Serve it with

This dish can be consumed on its own as a main course along with a salad or some steamed vegetables.
You can accompany it with meat and chicken or even fish.

How to Store and Reheat Orzo

You can store this in the refrigerator for up 3 days. To reheat, place it in a pot with 1-2 tbsp hot water and simmer (at very low heat) stirring until all of it is warm.

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Warm Greek Orzo with Feta and Tomato

Orzo recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Creamy and silky warm orzo cooked to perfection with tomato and topped with tangy feta.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword: Orzo, Recipe
Servings: 2 Mains or 4 Sides
Author: OliveTomato.com
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 ¼ cup dry orzo
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 12 oz (340 g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 oz (30 g) feta crumbled or grated for serving
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in deep pan and sauté the onion until translucent about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue sauteing for 1 minute.
  • Add the orzo and mix, making sure all the orzo is coated with olive oil. Add the tomato, 1 ½ cup hot water, ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp salt, tsp black pepper, stir and simmer covered for about 12-15 minutes until cooked, adding hot water as needed (¼ cup at a time). Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
  • When done it will still be slightly liquid and have a risotto like texture. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • To serve, place in a shallow bowl, add feta, sprinkle with parsley, oregano, and finish with ground black pepper.

Notes

You can store this in the refrigerator for up 3 days. To reheat, place it in a pot with 1-2 tbsp hot water and simmer (at very low heat) stirring until all of it is warm.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Leave a comment or share on instagram and mention @greekdiet

Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved

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6 Comments

  • Reply Tom May 1, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    Can I add chicken thighs? Brown them first?

  • Reply Barbara Tsikas Worthy March 1, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    Elena, my frustration in the US is not finding real feta made from sheep’s milk. What do you think of the typical brands sold in the US, are they an acceptable substitute? Do you know of sources that real sheep’s milk feta can be purchased?
    Eupharesto poli!5 stars

    • Reply Carol Witt March 21, 2022 at 1:01 pm

      Costco carries sheep’s milk feta. Kirkland brand, organic, 100% sheep’s milk, product of Greece. And it’s delicious!

  • Reply Michele February 9, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    Cannot wait to try this ! One question Elena – when you say “12 oz crushed tomatoes” do you mean by liquid measurement or by weight? Cheers from Ottawa, Canada, I love your website ! 🙂

  • Reply Chef Niko February 9, 2022 at 3:30 pm

    Winter comfort food at its best. Drop the oregano and use a small cinnamom stick for my mom’s Spartan Orzo recipe, you’ll love it.5 stars

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