A twisted risotto-style recipe with orzo and wild mushrooms. The famous Kritharoto, an emerging dish in modern Greek gastronomy.
Orzo (krithari in Greek) has a special place in the Greek cuisine. It’s been widely used in the traditional Greek Sunday roast (Giouvetsi), with lamb or chicken. Literally, it has raised generations of Greeks!
The word Kritharoto comes from a combination of orzo (krithari) and risotto. A perfect blend of the two famous cuisines in the Mediterranean region, the Italian and Greek.
So, you get the point. It’s almost a risotto but with orzo instead of rice. It’s cooked the way you would cook a risotto but gives you the amazing filling and sweet feeling of pasta.
It’s relatively fast to make and can impress anyone. I chose to make it this time with a selection of wild mushrooms but can use it with other vegetables or seafood. You just need to stick to the cooking principle, which requires ~ 15 minutes of adding stock to the pan and stirring.
Yes, you need to forget about everything for 15 minutes and concentrate in your Kritharoto. As you would do with a risotto really.
Kritharoto needs to be creamy and moist when it’s ready and you have to serve it almost immediately. Unfortunately, it can’t be reheated and eaten as a left-over but don’t you worry! There won’t be any left.
- 400 gr (14 oz) orzo.
- ~ 1 lt (34 fl oz) vegetable stock.
- 400 gr (14 oz) various wild mushrooms chopped.
- 1 red onion finely chopped.
- ½ cup of white wine.
- 3-4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
- 2 full tablespoons of butter.
- 50 gr (1.7 oz) of grated parmesan (may be more).
- Ground pepper.
- In a small pot, heat up the stock and keep it warm on medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and cook it until it starts getting soft (3-4 minutes).
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the orzo and cook it for 1-2 minutes while stirring. Add the wine and stir well. When the alcohol is evaporated, add 2-3 tablespoons of the stock (you may use a large cooking spoon). Keep stirring. When the stock is absorbed, add another 2-3 spoons of stock and keep stirring.
- After 7-8 minutes of adding stock and stirring you should be able to bite the orzo but it will be still hard (try it). Add the mushrooms and keep adding stock little by little until the orzo is cooked according to your liking (another 6-7 minutes). Season with ground pepper (you don’t need salt as parmesan is quite salty).
- When the orzo is ready, remove from the heat and add the parmesan (save some for topping) with 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir well. You should have a nice juicy and creamy kritharoto by now.
- Serve the kritharoto hot.
- Bon appetit!