This silky pasta dish takes its cooking method from risotto and comforts without feeling too heavy. Note: It’s easier to add steaming stock to your orzotto incrementally with a ladle. For the orzo, chef David Meyer of Verjus in San Francisco uses Rustichella d’Abruzzo brand, which is particularly wide and long, a bit larger in size than many other brands. If you use a smaller pasta, you may need a bit less cooking time and less broth.
- Bring a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot of water to a rolling boil and season lightly with salt. Meanwhile, bring vegetable or chicken stock to a bare simmer in a small saucepan.
- 2. Blanch the orzo in the water for 3 1/2 minutes (or less if you're using a smaller-size orzo.) The pasta will still have a hard center. Reserve a small amount of the cooking liquid, then strain pasta through a fine-mesh strainer.
- In the empty pasta pot, add 1 small ladle of stock into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan or heavy enameled Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Return drained pasta to the pot and stir vigorously using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Reduce heat to medium. Be vigilant-the pasta will want to stick together and to the bottom of the pan, and you want to keep liquid simmering. When the pasta has almost completely absorbed the liquid, add another half-ladle of stock.
- Continue stirring constantly. Add more liquid once the previous bit is absorbed, about 2 tablespoons at a time, until the pasta is almost tender. Don't add too much liquid at once-you want each addition to absorb almost completely, so there's just a bit of starchy sauce in the pan, not pasta drowning in liquid. In total, you will add about a cup of stock, though the exact quantity will vary depending on your pasta and the size of your pan.
- When pasta is almost al dente, stir in about a tablespoon of the butter and keep stirring until it melts. Add crumbled Fourme d'Ambert, stirring to melt, then season with a small pinch of salt and taste. Add additional salt, butter, or Fourme d'Ambert if desired. (You may not need it.)
- The pasta will continue to absorb liquid and the sauce will thicken after it is taken off the heat. Stir in another teaspoon of stock or pasta blanching liquid if needed. Fold in chives and serve immediately. Garnish with additional nubs of Fourme d'Ambert if desired.