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Is It Rice Or Is It Pasta? This Italian-Inspired Dish Can Feed A Crowd In A Jiffy

Is it rice or is it pasta? You can’t tell, right? This dish actually uses orzo (also called risono), a rice-shaped Italian pasta that is usually reserved for soups. If you don’t have time to make a paella or a lasagna, for example, this all-veggie dish is a great alternative that’s full of flavor and can satisfy the hungry, whether a party for 6 or a feast for 20. You can find risoni or orzo at select supermarkets or gourmet delis like Santi’s Delicatessen ( or Bacchus Epicerie in Power Plant Rockwell.


Vegetarian Orzo

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 box (500 grams) risoni or orzo pasta
  • water, enough to cook pasta 
  • kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons shallots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white button mushrooms, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock, optional


1. In a pot with water, cook pasta according to package directions. Season with salt and pepper. Drain well and set aside.

2. Heat a skillet, then add olive oil and shallots. Sauté until shallots are cooked. Add zucchini and bell peppers. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add cooked pasta and parsley. If needed, add chicken stock. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.



This recipe first appeared in FOOD Magazine, October-November 2014 issue

Styling by Nancy Dizon-Edralin

Photography by Paulo Valenzuela