You can cook almost any kind of pasta with vegetables in broth as if it were rice, but the pasta called orzo in the United States—from the Italian word for barley—is really ideal for that purpose. I often whip up this kind of pasta-risotto just before lunch, with any combination of herbs from the garden and the intensely flavored tomato confit I keep in the freezer. This dish is inspired by skordomakarona, a soupy, broken spaghetti cooked in garlicky tomato sauce, which was a frequent frugal staple of my youth. In the summer I make the orzo with fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes from the garden (see Note).
Serve with a green salad, roasted or fried vegetables, or steamed or braised greens.