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secrets &

Secrets and tips

by cheffe Dina Nikolaou

"Κritharoto doesn't wait for you... you wait for it..."! A basic prerequisite for a successful kritharoto is to serve it immediately, just like risotto. If you want to cook it at noon and serve it in the evening... you'd better opt for a tasty yiouvetsi.

The pan. Choose a relatively low and wide pan. A flat pot is ideal. With the right pan or pot, the kritharaki (orzo) spreads evenly and at a low height, so that it can absorb the broth equally.

Correct choice of fat. You can use whatever you like, but I would suggest using butter for kritharaki dishes that include only vegetables, and for those that include meat or sausage, opt for olive oil. Vegetables lack animal fat, so they need a little "boost", while meat - even lean meat - balances better with olive oil.

The broth. One of the most important ingredients for a delicious and juicy kritharoto. The broth should be on the stove next to the pot, and should be simmering continuously. The amount you will use should be in a ratio of 1:3, but if you use other liquids (milk, cream, etc.) or very wet ingredients (e.g. yoghurt, cream cheese) the ratio varies. Start by adding gradually and carefully.

Salt. For a properly salted kritharoto, you should salt throughout the cooking process, a little at a time. With the addition of each ingredient, you should salt.

The temperature. Start with high heat to warm up the fatty substance. After adding the onion, garlic and barley, sauté, stirring constantly. Add the wine and once the alcohol has evaporated, reduce the heat to medium. From this point on, keep the temperature constant, so that the mixture is cooked slowly.

Time. The cooking time for a perfectly cooked, al dente pasta depends on the type of pasta. If you choose coarse of whole wheat kritharaki , estimate about 23-25 minutes. If you choose medium kritharaki, the cooking time should not exceed 20-22 minutes.

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