This recipe for orzo, inspired by Italian cooking, is perfect for you if you want creamy risotto but need more time to create it. Everything gets cooked in the same pot, and the starch from the small pasta helps the sauce develop nice and thick on its own. This meal requires very little preparation, and the clean-up is straightforward, but the result is impressive enough to serve at a formal dinner party at any time of year. Best part? From beginning to end, the cooking process only requires approximately half an hour.
We took inspiration for the flavors in this dish from our Tuscan chicken and used sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, milk, and Parmesan to create a creamy and satisfying flavor, just as you like it. Even though this would be deliciously served as a side dish, it could be expanded into a more substantial main dish by being topped with cooked chicken, Italian sausage, or shrimp. You could also add cannellini beans or chickpeas for a vegetarian source of protein, or you might bulk it out with other vegetables such as roasted asparagus, mushrooms, or eggplant.
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 12 oz. orzo
- 4 cloves of garlic, cut very coarsely
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth with a low sodium content
- 2 ounces of full-fat milk
- 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, sliced very thinly
- 1/2 milliliter or more kosher salt
- 1/4 of a teaspoon or more of fresh black pepper that has been ground.
- 4 ounces of baby spinach (about 5 cups packed).
- 1 1/2 ounces of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (equivalent to about 3/4 cup), plus an additional serving
- Step 1: Butter should be melted over medium heat in a big Dutch oven or heavy saucepan. After adding the orzo and the garlic, continue cooking while stirring regularly for about four minutes or until the orzo is lightly toasted and the garlic is aromatic. After approximately a minute of constant stirring, add the tomato paste and continue cooking until everything is incorporated. Next, add broth, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Raise the temperature to medium-high, then bring the liquid to a boil. Orzo should be cooked until it is tender after 12 to 14 minutes, during which time the heat should be reduced to medium-low and simmered with continuous stirring.
- Step 2: Add the spinach and Parmesan and simmer over medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
- Step 3: Take the dish off the heat and, if necessary, season it with salt and pepper. Add additional grated Parmesan on top.
Learn more: Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe