Orzo with Parmesan and Basil

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Orzo with Parmesan and Basil

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta traditionally used in Italian soups, but it’s very versatile and can be used as a main ingredient for side dishes or in cold salads. We love it because it’s easy to fix for a fast weeknight meal and it dresses up nicely with simple ingredients. This time we had it as a hot side with our chicken with sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, and thyme, another simple dish.

In this version, I browned the orzo lightly in unsalted butter, then added low-sodium chicken broth and water and brought to a boil. After simmering, I stirred in the Parmesan, basil, pine nuts, and seasonings. I recommend preparing the dish right before serving because it tastes better fresh rather than warmed over, though I have been known to enjoy the leftovers for breakfast the next morning.

Raw orzo


3 quart pot with lid


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup orzo
1-1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken broth
1-1/4 cups water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted


1. Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The orzo will start to brown and take on a nutty fragrance.

2. Stir in the broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and orzo is al dente, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Other Good Orzo Recipes

Coconut & Lime – Saffron Orzo with Shrimp

Yumsugar – Modern Side: Orzo with Lemon and Parsley

Columbus Foodie – Orzo Salad with Spinach and Feta

Culinary in the Desert – Carrot Orzo

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  1. says

    I have just started experimenting with Orzo and this recipe looks delicious! I am going to have to try it and hopefully there will be leftovers for work tomorrow =D
    Shandy@Pastry Heaven

  2. says

    You are amazing!
    I’ve just gotten into cooking this past year and you are a PRO.
    Thanks for the great blog :)
    I’m learning… I actually made a dish for dinner tonight that I just ‘made up’.


  3. says

    TW, orzo is one of my favorites too!

    Shandy, I hope you like it!

    Nicole, that’s so sweet, thanks! I just like to play around and try different things.

  4. says

    i love orzo pasta… unfortunatly, i am unable to find it in the uk, unless it’s pre-cooked in a pasta salad from m&s. please send me some… just kidding!


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