This Creamy Orzo Pasta is a luxurious and cheesy dish that’s ready in 20 minutes. It’s a quick and comforting one-pan recipe you can enjoy as an appetizer, side dish, or main.Jump to Recipe
Creamy parmesan orzo pasta recipe
If you put alfredo and lemon risotto together, you’d get this Creamy Orzo Pasta! It’s hard to believe this cheesy and comforting meal is made in one pan in just 20 minutes. One bite and comfort food will never be the same!
The orzo pasta is cooked gently in a skillet, then tossed with cream, chicken stock, parmesan, and lemon. All of those flavors infuse together, leaving you with a side dish or main that’s bright, rich, and ultra-smooth.
Both pasta and rice lovers will get a kick out of this parmesan orzo pasta recipe. It’s just as easy as my Creamy Orzo Pasta with Corn and flexible too! Add leftover chicken, bacon, or vegetables to serve it as a bulky main, or use it as a creamy bed for lamb chops, chicken thighs, and your other favorite proteins. There isn’t a wrong way to enjoy creamy orzo!
Ingredients and substitutions
These ingredients may be simple, but they give this recipe BIG flavor. If you can, use high quality stock, cream, cheese, and freshly squeezed lemon juice to really help the orzo taste its best.
- Orzo – While it may look just like rice, orzo tastes the same as any other pasta noodle. It’s traditionally used in soups and stews, but can be used anywhere you normally use rice, quinoa, or regular pasta noodles. If you don’t have orzo, feel free to replace it with any other short cut pasta noodle.
- Chicken stock – Or use beef stock or vegetable stock.
- Heavy cream – You can use milk if you don’t have cream but the finished dish won’t be as rich and creamy.
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated parmesan melts into the orzo, helping to thicken the finished dish and give every bite extra creamy and salty flavors. Feel free to use feta cheese if you don’t have a block of parmesan at home.
- Lemon – You’ll need both the zest and juice to give this meal a bright, refreshing finish.
How to make creamy orzo pasta
This creamy pasta recipe is easy to cook in just one skillet. Here’s how it’s done:
- Saute the shallots: Heat the avocado oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Once it’s hot, add the shallots and saute.
- Toast the pasta: Next, add the orzo to the pan. Move it around frequently to prevent it from burning.
- Cook the orzo: Now you can add the stock. Bring it up to a simmer and leave it to cook until the orzo is al dente.
- Make it creamy: Stir in the butter and heavy cream. Continue cooking until the orzo is soft.
- Add the flavor, then serve: Take the skillet off the heat and add the lemon zest and juice, parmesan, and basil. Stir well, then serve!
Make it a meal
This creamy pasta is quite flexible, meaning you can add whatever you like to it and enjoy it as a meal on its own. Use any of these add-in ideas to give the meal more substance:
- Meat: Crispy prosciutto, pre-cooked chicken breasts, bacon, or grilled shrimp.
- Vegetables: Spinach, peas, asparagus, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, corn, tomatoes, or green beans.
- Flavor-boosters: Fresh or roasted garlic, capers, red chili flakes, or olives.
Frequently asked questions
Orzo may look like rice but it’s actually a type of pasta.
You’ll know it’s done cooking when it’s soft, but not falling apart or turning to mush.
No. The orzo should be soft and tender by the time you stir in the parmesan and lemon.
Just like regular pasta, orzo can become mushy if it’s left to boil for too long. Continue tasting it as it boils to prevent it from overcooking.
Store: The leftovers will last for up to 3 or 4 days when kept in an airtight container in the fridge.
Freeze: Transfer the cooled leftovers to a sealed container and freeze for up to 1 month.
Reheat: It’s best reheated in a skillet over low heat with a splash of chicken stock to rehydrate the orzo.
Looking for more creamy side dishes?
- Creamy Sausage Orecchiette Pasta With Kale
- Parmesan Polenta
- Sausage Tortellini Soup
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Polenta
If you try this Creamy Orzo Pasta let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Creamy Orzo Pasta
- Heat a shallow pan on medium-low heat. Add avocado oil and shallots. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add orzo pasta and toast for five minutes. Moving the orzo around not to burn. Add stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes (uncovered), stirring fairly often.
- Add butter and heavy cream and continue to cook the orzo until soft, about 3-5 more minutes. Stirring often. Taste the orzo to check for doneness.
- Remove from heat, add lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Mix well to combine. Enjoy with your favorite protein.