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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.

Not a fan of sun-dried tomatoes? Make my Creamy Garlic Spinach Orzo or this Creamy Spinach Bacon Orzo instead!

creamy Tuscan orzo in a serving bowl

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
ingredients for creamy tuscan orzo in prep bowls

Helpful tips

  • 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.

sauteing ingredients in a soup pot for tuscan orzo and adding cream and broth

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.

adding spinach, basil, and parmesan to a soup pot with creamy tuscan orzo

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.
close-up of creamy Tuscan orzo in a serving bowl with a golden spoon and fresh basil leaves

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 in a serving bowl
4.92 from 59 votes

Creamy Tuscan Orzo

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.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 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 pot. 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.


Calories: 346kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 494mg, Potassium: 402mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1806IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 154mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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4.92 from 59 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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  1. Clare Nicoll says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING! So tasty and it comes together so quickly. I love it for a weeknight dinner but I have also severed it when I wanted to impress a guest. I have added grilled chicken in the past when I wanted to add some protein. Words cannot describe how much I love this!

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww that’s nice to hear, Clare!

  2. Martin says:

    Made today for lunch – excellent! So much flavor – pan fried chicken breast and chopped them up and tossed them in at the last minute. It was so good – and filling! Basil – yum, Spinach – yum, Parm – yum (yes, grate yourself!!).

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you, Martin!

  3. Hilda Urban says:

    5 stars
    I loved the dish. I did add sauted chicken at the end for a full meal. It was delicious!

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful!! Thank you, Hilda!

  4. Claire says:

    5 stars
    Hi! I made this recipe with orzo and it was amazing!! Wanting to make it again but wondering if I could do penne pasta instead? What would you change for penne?

    1. Natasha says:

      So glad you like this one, Claire! My guess is you may need to add a bit more liquid, and it may take a bit longer to cook. You’d have to keep an eye on it and just add a splash more broth and/or cream as needed, and stir frequently.

    2. Linda Stilwell says:

      3 stars
      I had such high hopes, but to me, this was a bit disappointing. The Dijon Mustard took over the whole dish. It just took away from what I thought would be really good Italian flavors. If I make it again, I will omit the Mustard.
      I know you are all about making dishes with everyday ingredients. I spent over $23 on main ingredients, which is a lot for a side dish for 4-6. And especially when it was so disappointing.

      1. Natasha says:

        Hi Linda! Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one. 🙁 I’m surprised re: the Dijon mustard as there’s only a teaspoon in there, but yes, you could definitely omit it next time if even that was too much. I guess it depends what you already had in your pantry, but yes, unfortunately food prices have increased a lot in the past few years.