This creamy parmesan and garlic Cheesy Orzo Pasta is the perfect pasta side dish. Orzo pasta is simple to make and can be ready in less than 30 minutes, start to finish. Serve this easy pasta side dish with lots of Parmesan or Asiago cheese on top.
Garlic Parmesan Orzo Recipe
If you aren’t already a fan of orzo pasta, you will be once you give this recipe a try! Talk about the most addictive comfort food in the land, not even kidding.
This creamy and aromatic dish brings together the richness of garlic, the nuttiness of Parmesan cheese, and the tender texture of orzo pasta. With its irresistible combination of ingredients, this is bound to become your new favorite recipe.
Perfectly suited for both weeknight dinners and special occasions, this cheesy orzo pasta recipe strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and elegance. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this dish is a breeze to prepare, requiring only a handful of ingredients and minimal effort.
Garlic Parmesan Orzo
- Orzo pasta is cheap and very versatile. Serve it warm like this side dish or chilled as part of a salad.
- As orzo pasta cooks, it gets creamy in texture – so yummy.
- I love how orzo pasta can be a side dish or add cooked meat and some vegetables to make it a main dish.
Creamy Orzo Recipe
You’ll need these ingredients to make this recipe:
- Olive oil
- White or yellow onion
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Orzo pasta
- Whipping cream, optional
- Parmesan cheese (or substitute Asiago cheese like I love to!)
Parmesan Garlic Orzo
In a large skillet (12-inch works great) over medium heat, add a swish of olive oi, about a tablespoon or sol; add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they are beginning to soften.
Add the dry, uncooked orzo to the onions and garlic in the skillet, then stir to combine them; continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the broth to the orzo and vegetables in the skillet; bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the skillet and simmer the orzo for 15-20 minutes, or until nicely tender, but still al dente, stirring occasionally, letting all the liquid absorb into the pasta.
Remove the lid and stir in the cream (if using) and cheese, gently stirring to combine; season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, garnish the orzo with more cheese, as desired. May add some chopped Italian parsley (or any fresh herb you desire) if you like, along with the cheese.
Is orzo the same thing as rice?
Orzo may be shaped just like rice, but it is usually slightly larger in size and more elongated. Rice is classified as a grain and orzo is pasta, traditionally made from flour.
Is orzo gluten free?
Traditional orzo is not gluten-free. Most Orzo pasta is made with semolina flour which is very much full of gluten. However, there are gluten-free types of orzo available on the market – just check the ingredient list to be sure of what you are purchasing.
Where do you find orzo in the grocery store?
Because orzo is pasta (and not rice like it looks to be), you will find it in the dry pasta aisle, typically on the top shelf in a one pound box. But, because orzo is rice-shaped, sometimes grocery stores will have some of it in the rice aisle, too.
Can I substitute another shape of pasta?
You could substitute acini de pepe pasta that is smaller in size and will cook quickly, much like orzo pasta does. However, know that other types of pasta don’t typically get as creamy in texture as orzo does.
Which other cheeses could be substituted for parmesan cheese?
Substitute any mild Italian cheese, such as Pecorino, Romano or even Asiago to make your perfect version of cheesy orzo pasta. Or, feel free to even substitute Swiss or a mild white cheddar cheese in this orzo.
Tips and Tricks For Making the Best Creamy Orzo Pasta
- Be sure to stir the orzo as it’s simmering so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the skillet.
- Fresh herbs totally aren’t required for this dish to be fantastic, but they make it look kinda fancy!
- Turn this pasta dish into a main dish by adding some chopped, cooked meat, such as leftover grilled salmon or steak, or add some shredded rotisserie chicken.
- Orzo is also delicious with some added vegetables. Add some frozen chopped broccoli or green beans during the last 10 minutes of the simmering time. Or, once the orzo is fully cooked stir in some grape tomato halves and some fresh basil…yum.
More Orzo Recipes
If you’re looking for an orzo side dish that’s slightly more elegant, check out Creamy Orzo Pasta with Rosemary Browned Butter, another simple orzo recipe that is easy to whip up.
Or, if you’re seeking a delicious pasta salad, you will enjoy Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Steak.
Instant Pot Orzo Chicken Soup is good for slurping and takes only 4 minutes to cook under pressure.
Spinach Orzo Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese– This light orzo dish is perfect for hot summer days. It’s also the perfect make-ahead salad.
Cheesy Orzo Pasta
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small white or yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced or crushed
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups orzo pasta
- 1/4 cup whipping cream, or to taste optional
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese may substitute Asiago or Romano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large skillet (12-inch works great) over medium heat, add a swish of olive oi, about a tablespoon or sol; add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they are beginning to soften.
- Add the dry, uncooked orzo to the onions and garlic in the skillet, then stir to combine them; continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the broth to the orzo and vegetables in the skillet; bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the skillet and simmer the orzo for 15-20 minutes, or until nicely tender, but still al dente, stirring occasionally, letting all the liquid absorb into the pasta.
- Remove the lid and stir in the cream (if using) and cheese, gently stirring to combine; season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, garnish the orzo with more cheese, as desired. May add some chopped Italian parsley (or any fresh herb you desire) if you like, along with the cheese.
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