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Fresh Orzo

This is the Greek name for a type of pasta which resembles grains of rice. It is very popular in Egypt, where it is known as lissan al-asfoor (birds' tongues).

ingredients

serves 4 to 6
2 cups fine semolina (farina)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
all-purpose flour for dusting

method

1. Put the semolina in a large bowl. Add the salt, oil, and enough warm water to make a stiff dough.

2. Cover with a cloth and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

3. Knead the dough thoroughly on a floured board for 15 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. (This can also be done in a food processor or mixer, using bread-kneading attachments.)

4. Shape dough into a long, thin rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. Use a small, sharp knife to cut it into small pieces, each about half the size of a coffee bean.

5. Spread these little pieces of dough on a clean cloth and let dry in a warm, well-aired place for at least 2 hours.

6. Once dry, store in an airtight container until ready to use. Add to soups as desired.

7. Orzo needs only 5 minutes cooking time in boiling water or broth.

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