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This creamy Tuscan orzo recipe is a one pot pasta that’s incredibly flavorful, comforting, and makes an amazing side dish or meatless main course.
Why you’ll love it
There are so many things to adore about this quick and straightforward Tuscan pasta! I love the “Tuscan” flavor combo so much of sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and basil. Add in some cream, and we’re in heaven. It’s more Italian American than authentic Italian, but it’s totally delicious nonetheless.
Maybe the best part is how this orzo pasta is made all in one pot in 30 minutes. One pot recipes means fewer dishes, and that’s something I think we all need! Can’t get enough orzo recipes? Try my Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, this Italian Sausage Orzo, or Ground Beef Orzo with Tomato Cream Sauce.
What you’ll need
- Olive oil and butter – for sautéing
- Onion and garlic – I like sweet (Vidalia) onions
- Italian seasoning – you’ll find this dried Italian herb blend in a jar in the spice aisle of your grocery store
- Sun-dried tomatoes – I bought the kind packed in oil in a jar
- Lemon juice – for a touch of brightness and acidity
- Dijon mustard – my secret ingredient to add a special savory punch! Don’t worry, you don’t taste the mustard itself.
- Orzo pasta – orzo is actually pasta! It’s not rice even though it looks similar. If you want to make this with rice, you would have to adjust liquid measurements and cooking time.
- Chicken broth – to develop the rich flavor even more
- Heavy cream – for the luxurious creamy quality
- Parmesan – who doesn’t love fresh parm with Italian pasta dishes?
- Spinach and basil – classic fresh flavors for any Tuscan recipe
- As always, I recommend grating your own parmesan cheese for the best flavor, and it melts better. I use my Microplane to easily grate it.
- Use your discretion for ingredient substitutions. For example, subbing the cream with something lower fat may yield a less rich sauce that could potentially curdle. Half-and-half should be ok, but I haven’t tested it.
- It may seem like there’s a lot of liquid when you first add it, but the orzo will absorb it. If you find by the end of cooking that there’s still too much liquid for your liking, just wait a few minutes and the pasta will soak it up. If it’s too dry, simply add another splash of cream and/or chicken broth.
How to make creamy Tuscan orzo
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Add the oil, butter, and onion to a soup pot and sauté until softened, then add in the garlic, Italian seasoning, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, Dijon, and orzo. Cook, stirring often, for a few minutes to help infuse the flavors into the orzo. Stir in the broth and cream.
Once it starts to bubble, let it cook for 10 minutes, stirring fairly often. Turn down the heat as needed. Stir in the parmesan cheese, spinach, and basil, then cover the pot for a few minutes. Season with salt & pepper as needed.
What to serve with creamy Tuscan orzo
Leftovers and storage
- This orzo definitely tastes best when first cooked, but it’ll keep in the fridge for a few days. It will soak up more of the creamy sauce, though, and become puffy.
- Reheat over a low heat in a saucepan, adding a little bit of additional cream if necessary.
- I wouldn’t recommend freezing leftovers since dairy sauces don’t generally do well in the freezer.
If you made this creamy Tuscan garlic orzo, please leave a star rating and review below! You can also find me on Instagram.
Creamy Tuscan Orzo
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes see note
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil torn
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Add the oil, butter, and onion to a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and orzo. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often to infuse the orzo with the flavors.
- Add the chicken broth and cream. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes (uncovered), stirring fairly often. You will likely need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). It should steadily bubble (not furiously boil), and you don't want the liquid to cook off too much before the pasta is done.
- Take the pot off the heat, and stir in the parmesan, spinach, and basil. Cover the pot for a few minutes until it has thickened up to your liking. The orzo will absorb the liquid quickly, so if it still seems like there's too much liquid, just wait a little bit longer. Season with salt & pepper as needed.
- Serves 6 as a side or 4 as a main course (you may want to serve it with garlic bread and/or a salad).
- I used sun-dried tomatoes that are packed in oil and drained the oil prior to adding them to the pan. You can always add more if you really love them!
- Troubleshooting tips: Since every stove and pot can vary, use your best judgement when making one pot pastas. If it looks like the liquid is running out before the pasta is cooked, add a little more broth in (a half cup or so at a time). Conversely, if the cooking time has elapsed and there’s still too much liquid, just let it sit for a little longer and the orzo will absorb it.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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