This orzo pasta recipe is a warm and inviting dish that spotlights classic Italian flavors. It comes together in just minutes, making it the perfect mid-week dish.
I love to cook with orzo when I’m in a pinch for time. It might look like rice, but orzo is a pasta and it’s incredibly easy to prepare. My favorite part is that it has so much versatility, so there are a million variations to this orzo pasta recipe you can try! I made mine with garlic, tomato, and basil – a classic.
Mid-week meal planning can be hard, especially when you’re working all day, running errands, taking care of the kids, what have you. So when I need to think about dinner on these days, I resort to what I have in my pantry already. I always make sure to have a bag of orzo on hand for nights like this.
This orzo pasta recipe comes together in minutes and has robust, Italian flavors, making it the perfect cold weather comfort food. Like any pasta dish, it goes great with a colorful salad or some crust bread.
Orzo Pasta Ingredients //
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 small handful of basil, torn
- salt and pepper, to taste
How to Make Orzo Pasta // The Steps
Step 1: Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add a pinch of salt and the orzo pasta. Cook the orzo for about 5 – 8 minutes, or follow package instructions.
Step 2: Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 2 tablespoons of pasta water then drain and toss in half of the olive oil.
Step 3: In a pan over medium heat, drizzle in the remaining olive oil and fry the garlic and tomatoes for 5 minutes. Keep tossing to make sure the tomatoes cook on all sides and the garlic doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Step 4: Remove the pan from the heat and add in the parmesan and the pasta water and stir. The parmesan and the pasta water will help the tomato juices make a nice sauce to coat the pasta. Add in the torn basil, salt, and pepper and toss.
Step 5: Add in the cooked orzo pasta and mix it all together, then serve.
You can truly introduce orzo pasta to a range of flavors and ingredients. Use it as a substitute for spaghetti or penne in your favorite pasta recipe, or try some of the below suggestions.
- Lemon garlic orzo pasta with roasted vegetables: Roast your favorite veggies in the oven, like zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, an onion. Toss your orzo with lemon juice and zest, then combine.
- Creamy spinach orzo pasta: Boil your orzo in chicken broth for extra flavor. Drain, then mix it in with spinach, heavy cream, parmesan, cooked onion, and garlic.
- Greek orzo pasta salad: Cook your orzo and let cool. Mix it in with bell pepper, olives, cucumber, and feta, and top with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Orzo risotto: Start making your favorite risotto recipe, but substitute the rice for orzo.
Serving Suggestions //
This orzo pasta recipe is great for dinner for the whole family, or as a quick and easy lunch when you’re busy. I love to serve it with a crusty bread to mop up all of the sauce, a light salad, or seasonal vegetables, like roasted asparagus.
You can use whatever pasta you like with this simple recipe. Just cook the pasta to the package instructions, then follow the rest of the steps for the sauce.
You can use any cheese really, but one that will melt into the tomato sauce is best to achieve the same consistency. Feta is a delicious option that adds a really nice creaminess and savory flavor to the sauce.
Orzo, because it’s made from wheat, contains more fiber than white rice (a grain). Orzo also has slightly more protein than rice and is more nutrient dense. Both contain about the same amount of calories.
How to Store Orzo Pasta //
This orzo pasta recipe will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months. Just let it cool before sealing it in an airtight container.
When reheating you might need to add a splash of water to loosen up your orzo pasta. Just stick it in the microwave for 1 minute intervals, stirring in between, or heat it on the stove on a medium heat.