Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan

Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan is an easy recipe using fresh ingredients to maximize flavor. It makes an impressive side dish, but if you want an easy all-in-one meal, just add chicken for a delicious dinner that's quick and easy any night of the week.
Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan
I LOVE orzo pasta! It is such a nice change of pace from rice. I'm not such a fan of rice - not the taste, the consistency. I eat it and it's okay, but I prefer to make orzo. Sadly, Don (aka the hubs) really loves rice, so I've been trying to convince him orzo is a better option. Don't get me wrong, he LOVES pasta, just not as a rice substitute - he's still a work in progress.

I think you'll love how easily this recipe can be adapted to suit your needs. I know I sure do! I like how I can make this recipe as written for a delicious side to just about any protein, but we have also enjoyed this orzo pasta dish as a meatless entree. A great addition I like to add from time to time is sauteed mushrooms, so don't be afraid to mix things up and experiment with this recipe.
Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan

Recipe Prep Tips

  • To make this all in one skillet, I sautee the spinach and garlic first and then remove it from the skillet and keep warm until the orzo is done.
  • Use a skillet with a tight fitting lid. If you don't have a skillet with a tight fitting lid, you can put a clean kitchen towel between the lid and the skillet to ensure a tight fit.
  • I don't salt the orzo when cooking. I know! That is probably frowned upon by a lot of pro chefs, but the Parmesan is pretty salty, so I prefer to add it first and then give it a taste. If you feel it needs salt at that point, then go ahead and add it a little at a time to your liking. Or just add more Parmesan, because cheese is good <smile>
  • Scroll down below the recipe to see step-by-step photos
  • I also adapted this recipe for fall using butternut squash. Click here for the recipe > Butternut Squash Orzo Pasta
Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan



Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan

Life Tastes Good
Published 12/01/2016
Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan
Orzo Pasta with Spinach and Parmesan is an easy recipe using fresh ingredients to maximize flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 14 ounces water
  • 2 teaspoons Chicken Base (I use Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant. Add 6 ounces of baby spinach and a pinch of kosher salt. Saute until the spinach is wilted to your liking, about a minute or two. Remove the spinach from the skillet to a plate and reserve until ready to mix with the orzo.
  2. Increase the heat to mid-high and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Add 1 cup orzo pasta and stir until lightly browned. Add 14 ounces of water and 2 teaspoons chicken base and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the orzo is tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed.
  3. When the orzo is done add the spinach and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and mix well. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. The Parmesan will add some saltiness to the dish, so be sure to give it a taste to ensure you don't add too much salt!
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cook time: 20 mins.
Total time: 30 mins.


Step-by-Step Photos

Brown the orzo pasta in butter
Add 14 ounces water to the orzo pasta
Add the spinach back in the skillet with the orzo and Parmesan cheese
Stir the orzo, spinach, and Parmesan to combine

55 comments:

  1. Yum yum yum...I ewcently re-introduced myself to orzo. Forgot how much I loved it!

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    1. Omgosh! I love it! I pick orzo over rice any day!

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  2. I am going to make this tomorrow for my daughter, but I've never used chicken base and don't know what it is. I looked it up and it seems it can be a powder or paste. What do you use? I just want to make sure I buy the right thing so I don't ruin this recipe!

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    1. I buy the Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base. It is a paste. You can find that near the chicken broth in your grocery store. Here is their website so you can see what the jars look like http://www.superiortouch.com/retail/products/better-than-bouillon I hope you both enjoy it :)

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  3. Thank you so much! I just bought it and will be making it in a few hours. :)

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  4. Ok, we just finished it. YUM!! So good. My daughter said this should be one of my staple recipes now. I'm sure I'll mention it on my blog sometime soon. Thanks!

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    1. Great! I'm so glad you liked it! It is definitely one I make often! I love your blog and all things vintage too - I'm a new follower :).

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  5. This looks delicious - but I have a quick question: Do you not cook the orzo in boiling water like you would any other pasta? Am I correct in thinking I cook the orzo in the 2T butter alone? I'll know when it's done by it's light brown color? Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Jill! Sorry that was confusing - The rest of the directions are under the photo ;o) I do not cook orzo like traditional pasta, but after you toast it lightly in the butter you add the water and the chicken base - bring to a boil - cover - reduce heat, and cook for about 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Hope that helps! Marion

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  6. This is so AMAZING. I was extremely and pleasantly surprised. Thank you for the great recipe!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing that - you made my day :) ~Marion

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  7. Found this on pinterest and tried it tonight. Absolutely delicious. I didn't have chicken base, so i added that new concentrated stock to the water and let it boil. I actually think that i could cut the butter and it would still be divine. I will try that next time as it is definitely a keeper!

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    1. I'm so glad you like it! You can absolutely cut the butter, but I recommend subbing in olive oil maybe using 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter to toast the orzo in place of the 2 tbsps of butter and you can do the same when sauteing the spinach. If you don't use enough butter/oil the orzo might stick and won't be as creamy, so it just depends on your preferences. Thanks for stopping by!!

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  8. Just made this for dinner. It was marvelous! I used generic butter flavored spray (like Pam) to saute' the orzo. I didn't have the chicken base, so I used a 14.5 oz can of chicken broth. No water. I also used the spray for the spinach along with 1 Tbls of "I can't believe it's not butter". It was a bit pasty, not creamy but the taste was sure there. I served it with the "No fail Salmon" from Pinterest. Delish!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Hope! I'm glad it turned out for ya! Chicken broth is a fine substitute. I used to use that until I discovered chicken base and now I'm addicted to the stuff haha. So happy you liked it, and I'm going to have to try that salmon!

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    2. @Hope, I am not here to preach but please avoid using sprays like Pam. They are dangerous to health, I don't mean that lightly. Take care.

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  9. How many servings is this recipe?

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    1. Hi Tammy, This is about 4 servings. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  10. Thanks so much for this recipe! I cooked it tonight and it was delicious! I cooked it just as you instructed and paired it with a honey-lime shrimp recipe I also found on Pinterest. Thanks again for sharing!

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    1. ooohhhhh honey-lime shrimp!! That sounds wonderful! I'm so glad you enjoyed the orzo. Thank you for stopping by to let me know. I so appreciate it! :)

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    2. I love ORZO and this looks very good and i am going to try it today. As soon as i get off of work i am going to the store to get every thing so i can make it.

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    3. Thanks for stopping by Delores! I think you'll like it - it is a family fave in our house!! And so easy to make. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

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  11. Hi - Looks delish :) I am making for a large group -- do you think I can double or even triple the recipe? Can i make ahead of time and heat later?

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    1. Maureen, thanks for stopping by!! I would recommend making it in batches and then mixing it all together. You can make this ahead of time, however, the consistency suffers a little. I eat it for leftovers all the time and the flavor is still great!

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  12. Just made this tonight! SO good, and my husband absolutely loved it. I'm going to check out your other recipes now to see what I'm making for dinner tomorrow :) Thank you!

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    1. Addie Mae, Thank you for taking the time to let me know. I'm so glad you and your husband loved it! Enjoy browsing the site and let me know if you have any questions! Thanks again, Marion :)

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  13. This was absolutely delicious and so simple! My husband loved it and has commented on how good it was several times since then. I used chicken broth to cook the orzo. We do not eat a lot of meat and I served this as an entree with a salad. YUM!

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    1. mshight, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to let me know how much you liked it! I love this as an entree and sometimes even add mushrooms (cause I LOVE 'shrooms!). I'm so glad you liked it and chicken broth is a great substitute! I use it sometimes if I have it on hand ;)

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    2. Tried it tonight with grilled chicken and mushrooms. Sauteed the mushrooms with the garlic and then added the "pre-fab" chicken strips to warm through before adding the spinach on top. Divine!

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  14. Couldn't kale be used instead of spinach? It would have a little more body and fiber. If you don't have chicken broth, bullion could be used, but remember the the salt content. Olive oil would make a healthier dish with the same result as butter. (nothing like a rehab recipe)

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  15. So good! I added basil and used beef broth instead since that is all I had. Still good! Thanks

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    1. Dana, thanks for stopping by! Basil is a great addition! I never thought about using beef broth - thanks for the tip - I'll have to try it that way sometime. So glad you enjoyed it :) ~Marion

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  16. Bet this would be good with a pinch of nutmeg.

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  17. I made this rather than my usual recipe with sun dried tomatoes, and liked it better!!! I paired it with Greek feta burgers and thought I was back in Greece!!! Thanks for this.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment!! You made my day :)! I'm so glad you like this recipe - it is definitely a favorite of ours.

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  18. Mmmm. This looks awesome. I have had it pinned and plan to make it tonight with sirloin steaks. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I bet it went great with the steaks! I hope you enjoyed it! ~Marion

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  19. Pure perfection!!! I followed the recipe with the exception of substituting Asiago for Parmesan. It was so lovely! I did not have to add any salt and pepper. I will make this often!

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Nikki! Asiago sounds delicious in this. I'll have to try that next time. Thanks so much for stopping by ~Marion

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    2. Came across this on Pinterest. Cant thank you enough for posting this recipe. Its fool proof and came out delish!!!! Will definitely be making this again and again, it was the perfect side dish for my breaded meat.

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    3. Jessica, thank you for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! Have a super week! ~Marion

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  20. I tried this tonight and we loved it. I added shredded chicken to make it a "one pot" meal. My husband and child have declared it a make again recipe!!!! Thanks! :)

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    1. Anita, I'm so happy it was a hit, and the addition of chicken is a fabulous idea!! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know! Have a great weekend ~Marion

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  21. always a winner ... never get tired of eating this holy yummy food of yours ...

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    1. awesome! thank you for stopping by! ~Marion

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  22. I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious!! I used feta cheese instead of parmesan. I'm not a big fan of parmesan. We love trying new dishes and this was a big hit. Will make this again, no doubt!!

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    1. Fantastic! So glad you liked it and glad you found a work around for the Parmesan. I love when a recipe can be easily tweaked!! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know! I so appreciate it ~Marion

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  23. Thanks so much for this recipe! It's fantastic! My husband said that this one is definitely a keeper. I'll have to try it with feta too as Mama Jules suggests above.

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    1. Happy dance!!! I'm so glad, Eleni!! Thank you for stopping by and letting me know! One of the best parts about this recipe is how versatile it is! Definitely play around with different flavors!! Have a great week! ~Marion

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  24. It looks like there is crumbled bacon on top of the dish. If not bacon, what is it?
    Oooh, I can't wait to try this. I've made orzo with spinach and feta and it was wonderful. I think I'll try this with shrimp added for a yummy light dinner for hubby and myself.

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    1. Hi Linda! The picture with the bacon crumbled on top is my other version of this dish - Butternut Squash Orzo. The shrimp is a great addition! I hope you love it like we do :) Thanks for stopping by and have a super weekend ~Marion

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  25. This sounds delicious, and I love how simple it is to put together - those flavors! I have a package of orzo in my pantry just begging to made into this. :)

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, Heather! Thanks for stopping by :) Have a super week ~Marion

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Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your thoughts! Comments are moderated, so I don't miss anything. I like to read each and every one! Please understand I am not able to allow comments with links. Thanks! I hope it's a great day!! ~Marion

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