Creamy Italian Orzo

Creamy Italian Orzo

30 reviews, 4.5 star(s). 90% would make again

Ready in 35 minutes

Orzo is a small Italian pasta that looks very much like rice and is usually prepared similar to a risotto. This pasta dish is both simple and quick, fabulously creamy, and has a wonderful blend of flavors that will delight, not only the adults, but the kids too... This dish very adaptable. It can be eaten as a side dish, or add some cooked chicken, ham or shrimp for a main course. When available, I like to substitute sauteed fresh asparagus for the peas, and I often add 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms to saute along with the shallot and garlic. I love this dish because I can whip it together in about 30-40 minutes, and it's made with things that I usually have readily at hand. It makes a last minute supper feel like something special rather than an afterthought.


1 pound Orzo
8 cups low sodium chicken broth, stock, or water
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup shallot; (2-3 large), finely chopped (or finely chopped onion)
2 large cloves garlic; finely minced
1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes; diced, juices drained (I use Muir Glen brand)
1 1/4 cups Heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas; thawed
1 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese; freshly grated, and more to pass
Salt and Black Pepper; freshly ground
4 teaspoons pine nuts; toasted, (optional)

Original recipe makes 8 Servings



In a large heavy saucepan, bring chicken broth or salted water to boil over high heat. Slowly stir in the orzo and cook uncovered, stirring often, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat oil in a large heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute about 2 minute. Add the garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes, or until mixture is tender and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas, and cook, stirring often, until cream just begins to bubble. Add the orzo, tossing to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cheese to the pasta mixture. Stir until the sauce coats the pasta thickly. If needed, add enough of the reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts, if desired. Serve immediately in warmed bowls along with additional cheese to pass.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.


Do not substitute milk for the cream, it's just not the same. Also, the amount of cream may sound like a lot, but this recipe makes a huge amount of pasta--maybe 12 side dish servings or 8+ main dish servings. The recipe can be easily halved, if desired.

Verified by stevemur
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Yum, really good!




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Calories Per Serving: 348 Get detailed nutrition information, including line-by-line nutrition insights?  Try BigOven Pro for Free for 14 days!

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I made this as a side dish to lime grilled chicken breast with avocado salsa. This made a great dinner!
weezielrh 3m ago

Yum, didn't follow exactly, used the amounts I had on hand. Like less cream and more cheese. Peas and carrots (only peas I had). Made a ton, only two of us. Packaged up for lunch.
DoubleChin 3m ago

Makes a huge batch. Deliciously creamy with tangy tomatoey bites and a hint of spiciness.
jdriemeyer 3m ago

I love this stuff as a side dish I cut it in half there just 2 of us. if I use it as a main dish with shrimp or grilled chicken I make the hole thing. This really makes a lot
strawberryblunt 7m ago

This one's a keeper!! I paired this dish with grilled chicken and green beans. This was my first time cooking with orzo, but everything came out wonderful. My boyfriend loved it and is excited for the leftovers. I may add shrimp next time. Delicious indeed!! leftleftovers! I used regular tomatoes instead of canned.
asohail 10m ago

Added Shrimp. Very good.
Mitreehouse 1y ago

yummy! yummy! yummy!
gregspotato79 1y ago

Take your time cooking tomatoes in with cream... Short cutting this step causes the flavors not to completely meld
dohmama 1y ago

I wasn't to big a fan of this. I will try making again to see if maybe it was just a bad batch.
tcats6 1y ago

Very tasty dish.
traceydf 1y ago

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