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The one and only time I ever attempted to make risotto was such a complete fail (Ina, I'm so sorry that I disgraced your recipe) that I wished I had stuck to making orzo instead, which is way easier to pull off.
Yes, risotto and orzo are completely different beasts, but let's not get too technical here since they actually have a lot of similarities (including appearance and shape!). Just like risotto, orzo shines when cooked in broth, pairs well with creamy sauces, and should be eaten with a spoon. It's the perfect starch to start with if you lack beginner's luck while attempting loftier ambitions.
Speaking of lofty recipes, this dish definitely isn't one of those. It's quick, easy, cooks in one pot, and nowhere do the instructions require you to stand over said pot, consistently stirring.
Think of this recipe like an orzo primavera. It calls for dry orzo (assistant food editor, Sheela Fiorenzo, swears by Garofalo Orzo Pasta), minced garlic, chicken broth, fresh thyme, a zested and juiced lemon, chopped ham, steamed carrots, peas, grated Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper.
Between the protein-packed ham and cheese and the nutrient-dense carrots and peas, this orzo is basically a complete meal. Bonus: You can buy the ham already cooked and cubed and throw it in, along with the veggies, after the pasta has absorbed all the broth. Grate more Parmesan over the top and you're good to go.
→ Get the Recipe: Quick and Easy Ham Lemon Orzo from Oh Sweet Basil