Rice alternative for soups and risotto

Ditali past shapes in lentil pasta soup

Ditali past shapes in lentil pasta soup

I read somewhere that there is a pasta which can be used as an alternative to rice for risotto and soups.

Please could you name it for me? Thank you.

Answer:

In terms of soups, yes there are lots of small pasta shapes you can use instead of rice.

The 'family' name of this type of pasta is 'ditali', which basically refers to really tiny pasta shapes (literally, the word ditali comes from 'dita', which means fingers in Italian. So ditali are things that can fit around a finger).

See the pasta shapes on this lentil pasta soup page for example. You should be able to find such tiny pasta at your local store.

You can also use orzo pasta in your soups. This type of pasta is virtually identical to rice in terms of its shape and size (see my explanation of orzo on this Q&A page).

However... when it comes to risotto, pasta doesn't really apply I'm afraid. The the name risotto strictly describes that a dish is specifically made with rice (as 'riso' means rice). Therefore you cannot replace the rice with pasta and still call it risotto (at least not with an Italian in earshot!).

Hope that helps,

Matt.

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