This simple but savory orzo recipe is a great substitute for traditional creamy pasta. I think of it as a sophisticated, healthy mac and cheese.
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 chicken sausages sliced into 1-inch pieces (chicken sausages come pre-cooked; I like the chicken & apple ones from Whole Foods) OR 2 cups cooked chicken breasts, sliced or shredded
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 4 cups chicken stock or veggie stock
- 1 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (choose real Parmigiano Reggiano for the best tasting and healthiest option)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 (5-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach (or 4–5 big handfuls baby spinach)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from one large lemon)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Optional: 2 tablespoons capers
- Heat a high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and sliced chicken sausage or cooked chicken breast, cooking for 5-6 minutes until heated through and browned along the edges. (Chicken sausages are already cooked, so you’re just heating them up and browning them a little). Remove the sausages or chicken and set aside on a plate, leaving any bits in the pan.
- Turn the same pan to medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add in minced shallot and sauté until soft, not brown, for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn up the heat and add the dry orzo. Stir to coat, letting the pasta lightly toast for 2-3 minutes.
- Turn heat to high and add your chicken broth/veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of sea salt if your stock is low-sodium.
- Simmer for 6-7 minutes until the pasta is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed. Give it a few big stirs every minute to bring out some of the pasta’s starch (similar to how you make risotto).
- Once the orzo looks creamy and has absorbed most of the stock, stir in 1/2 cup water and add 1 cup of grated parmesan, stirring until well incorporated.
- Add a few spins of freshly ground black pepper then fold in the sliced tomatoes and spinach and cook another 5 minutes until the tomatoes are nice and soft and the spinach has wilted down.
- Turn the heat off and stir in the lemon juice. You can also use your capers as a garnish, if you’d like.
- Serve hot. 1-Pot Orzo will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
- Cherry tomatoes would also work in this recipe. They’ll just be a little sweeter.
- The total time for cooking orzo is 7-10 minutes. Al dente means that the cooked orzo is still a little firm.
- You’ll want to stir the orzo as it cooks to release starch from the pasta. Give it a taste after each stir, adding salt if it’s too bland.
- Turn the heat to low if your orzo is bubbling too much, and add another few tablespoons of water if it’s too thick. Stir every minute or two until it’s nice and creamy.
- Allow your orzo to cool to room temperature before you store it, covered, in the refrigerator. It’ll keep for up to 3 days, but to be honest, we’ve never had it last that long!
- This dish is best fresh, but you can freeze it for up to three months if you’re making a batch for later.
- Calories: 342
Keywords: orzo recipe, 1-pot orzo