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This Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo can be on your table in 15 minutes! While it’s perfect as a side dish, I prefer this as a meal on its own because it’s cheesy, creamy and really hits the spot.
I love cooking with orzo not only because it’s pasta, and hello, I’m a pasta lover, but simply because it’s really quick to cook. Quicker than rice. So if you’re in a time crunch and need a side dish that doesn’t require a lot of fuss but still want it to be delicious and impressive, orzo is your friend.
What Is Orzo?
Orzo is a small cut pasta that tastes heavenly in creamy dishes just like the one I’m writing out for you all today. It packs some good protein and pairs well with a good variety of veggies, I’ll be sure to give you some good recommendations below. This dish is absolutely divine as a side dish to many an entrees, I find I’m just as happy to eat it as it’s own rich meal!
Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Butter – Unsalted as we want to control our sodium.
- Olive oil – We want a nice neutral oil to brown butter for our sauce, using both prevents the butter from burning in the pan.
- Onion – Something like white or yellow, look for a smaller onion.
- Garlic – Use as much or little as you like.
- Pasta – I used orzo today, obviously! If you’re looking to substitute, try your best to go for as small a pasta as you can.
- Broth – We’re using chicken broth today, low sodium.
- Seasoning – Salt and pepper.
- Cheese – Just Parmesan today, ideally freshly grated!
- Cream – I used half and half but feel free to substitute in a lower fat cream if you would like.
- Parsley – To be chopped up fine and sprinkled over top.
How To Make Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo
- Saute the sauteables: In a large skillet add the olive oil, butter and cook for about 30 seconds until the butter melts. Stir in the onion and garlic and let it cook for about 2 minutes until the onion softens and the garlic becomes aromatic.
- Toast the orzo: Add the orzo to the skillet and let it cook for about 2 minutes just in the oil so that it starts to toast lightly, this will give it a nutty flavor.
- Build the sauce: Season with salt and pepper then stir in the chicken broth and half and half. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a medium-low, cover with a lid and let it cook for 5 minutes.
- Finish the orzo: Remove the lid and stir in the Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
What Else Can I Add To My Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo?
Another great thing about this recipe, besides it being, quick, one pot and delicious, is the fact that it’s quite versatile. I actually give you the basic recipe here, but feel free to add what you’d like to bulk it up a bit!
This dish tastes great with chicken especially, if you’re looking to take this recipe from side dish to entree adding some chicken is a great way to do that. Of course adding bacon or pancetta would also set this dish off!
- Dried oregano
- Red pepper flakes
- Italian parsley
How to Serve
This dish is either a side dish or a main event, it’s all up to you. But if you’re looking for what would pair with it best, look no further than some of the recipes below.
- Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken Legs
- Kale And Quinoa Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette
- Warm Kale Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash
- Summer Salad With Herbed Ricotta And Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Sole Meuniere
- Pork Tenderloin
- Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken
- Pan Seared Pork Chops With Gravy
You’ll want to store this dish in an airtight container to ensure it lasts for up to 3 – 4 days in the fridge. Unfortunately this cream based pasta dish doesn’t thaw well after being frozen so I don’t recommend storing it in the freezer.
Craving More Orzo? Try These Delicious Recipes:
Orzo is such an under-appreciated pasta! Add it to your weekly dinner rotation, trust me.
- One Pot Spicy Pork Ragu with Orzo
- One Pot Cheesy Taco Orzo
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad
- Lemon Orzo with Asparagus
- One Pot Greek Chicken Orzo
- Creamy Parmesan Orzo With Chicken and Asparagus
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoon butter (unsalted)
- 1 small onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 cups orzo (dry)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
- In a large skillet add the olive oil, butter and cook for about 30 seconds until the butter melts. Stir in the onion and garlic and let it cook for about 2 minutes until the onion softens and the garlic becomes aromatic.
- Add the orzo to the skillet and let it cook for about 2 minutes just in the oil so that it starts to toast lightly, this will give it a nutty flavor.
- Season with salt and pepper then stir in the chicken broth and half and half. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a medium-low, cover with a lid and let it cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir in the Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
- Serve immediately.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.