This one pot Italian sausage orzo recipe is easy, creamy, and comes together fast for a comforting and delicious weeknight dinner.
One pot meals save on clean-up and are handy when you don't have a lot of time to spend cooking. This recipe is fairly similar to a risotto, but it's simpler, easier, and made with pasta rather than rice.
How to make orzo with Italian sausage (overview):
In a soup pot, cook the crumbled sausage meat for 5 minutes, then add the onions and continue cooking for a few more minutes until browned. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and orzo, followed by the chicken broth and cream. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and spinach, then cover for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted and the liquid has absorbed more. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & tips:
- As with any one pot pasta dish, the liquid quantities work as tested on my stove, but pots/stoves/temperatures may vary from my kitchen to yours, so if you feel like it needs more liquid, add another splash of broth or cream. If it seems too wet, let it sit for a bit longer, and it'll soak any excess liquid up in a few minutes.
- Try swapping half the chicken broth with dry white wine (e.g. sauv blanc, pinot grigio, or chardonnay).
- Want to add some heat? Use spicy Italian sausage or double the crushed red pepper flakes.
- Leave the spinach out if you prefer.
- You can use ground sausage meat to save time vs. buying whole sausages.
- I always recommend grating your own parmesan cheese (it tastes and melts much better!). I used my Microplane to grate it for this recipe.
- Orzo is pasta (not rice even though it looks very similar). If you want to sub the orzo for rice you may need to adjust liquid measurements and timing (rice usually takes longer).
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Questions about this Italian sausage orzo pasta recipe? Let me know in the comments below! As always, if you make one of my recipes, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Italian Sausage Orzo
- 17.6 ounces Italian sausages see note
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional, or more to taste
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Take the sausage meat out of its casings and crumble it into a soup pot/Dutch oven. Over medium-high heat, cook it for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the onions and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, until the sausage is nicely browned and the onion has softened.
- Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and orzo, and cook for around 30 seconds.
- Stir in the chicken broth and cream. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often (or else the orzo may stick to the bottom of the pot). You will likely need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). It should gently bubble vs. boil (you don't want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked).
- Take the pot off the heat, stir in the parmesan and spinach, and cover the pot for 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking. Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately. See more troubleshooting tips in the notes below.
- I used a 5-pack (17.6 ounces/500g) of Johnsonville Italian sausages. You can use anything in the ballpark weight-wise or just buy ground sausage meat.
- As with any one pot pasta dish, the liquid quantities work as tested in my kitchen, but pots/stoves/temperatures can vary, so if you feel like it needs more liquid, add another splash of broth or cream. If it seems too wet, let it sit for a bit longer, and it'll soak any excess liquid up within a few minutes.
- Orzo is pasta. If you want to make this with rice, you may have to adjust liquid measurements and cooking time (I have not tested this).
- Serves 4-6 depending on how much people eat/what else it's served with.
- 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.