Orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, is quick, easy, and delicious to make as a simple side dish! And there are so many different orzo side dish recipes out there!
I am excited to share this creamy Parmesan Orzo with basil, an excellent complement to chicken breast recipes. This simple recipe is flavorful and versatile and has a rich buttery taste with great fresh herb flavors.
Why you will love making Orzo.
When most people think of a type of pasta, they automatically consider a spaghetti recipe or pasta shells. Very few consider the tiny grains of pasta that resemble a grain of rice but are anything but.
This easy side dish can be flavored in multiple ways, one of the more popular being Parmesan, and it is a perfect side dish idea to mix up the plate.
Because it’s cooked similarly to all pasta (boiled in a liquid), it also tends to be much quicker than traditional rice. Plus, you can eat it chilled, which makes this ingredient perfect for pasta salads.
- dry orzo pasta
- chicken broth
- grated Parmesan cheese + shredded Parmesan cheese
- chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper
How to make Parmesan Orzo.
- Place butter and orzo into a large skillet.
- Cook orzo over medium-high heat and frequently stir as the butter melts. Mix well to coat evenly. Continue to saute until the orzo is browned.
- Carefully pour in chicken broth and bring the liquid to a boil.
- Cover the skillet with a lid and reduce stove heat to simmer.
- Simmer orzo for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. This can vary depending on a gas or electric stove, so check about the 15-minute mark.
- Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves. Mix well.
- Serve cooked orzo immediately, topped with additional shredded Parmesan cheese and two tablespoons of fresh basil leaves.
Expert Orzo Tips
As noted above, orzo dishes are easy to add fresh ingredients to or change with spices to complete a different meal. Add sun-dried tomatoes, cut cherry tomatoes, spicy pepper flakes, fresh lemon juice, and black pepper.
Because this dish is one of those beige side dish options on a plate, sliced green onions, a piece of parsley, or chopped basil leaves bring out some color.
Crumbled cheeses are a great option with tender orzo! Try cooked orzo pasta with goat cheese or crumbled feta cheese.
Orzo is typically found in the pasta aisle, not the rice aisle.
Related Pasta Side Dishes
I love pasta in my sides!