Orzo (from Latin hordeum, sometimes called Italian rice) is Italian and means "barley," from which orzo was originally made. (Ref: Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary) but in common usage in the United States, orzo is understood to mean rice-shaped pasta, slightly smaller than a pine nut. It is frequently used in soups. Despite its rice shape, orzo is not made out of rice but of hard wheat semolina. It is also known as risone or kritharaki.