One pan is all you need for this simple evening supper of creamy chicken orzo, which only takes 30 minutes to prepare. This hearty meal uses spinach and cherry tomatoes among other vegetables in a creamy sauce that is packed with basil pesto flavor. Make this easy restaurant-quality chicken supper at home for your family; it just could become a new weeknight staple!
One-pan creamy chicken orzo
This brilliant and colorful one-pot meal is a must-try if you want to elevate your game with chicken dinners. Even though it just takes 30 minutes to prepare, this delicious creamy chicken orzo looks stunning and tastes much like something you would have at a fine-dining Italian restaurant. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts, orzo pasta, cherry tomatoes, spinach, basil pesto, garlic, and cream make a delicious combination. A decadent cream sauce prepared with basil pesto is poured over juicy, delicate chicken that has been grilled with olive oil, smoky paprika, and Italian spice.
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Why you’ll love it
- filled with vegetables. The spinach and cherry tomatoes in this hearty and comforting chicken orzo are among the many vegetables it contains. Even more vegetables can be added, along with any additional vegetables you enjoy!
- Super-flavorful. Cream and basil pesto work well together to create a flavorful orzo sauce. Although homemade pesto with basil usually tastes the finest, store-bought pesto also tastes well.
- little cleaning. Even the orzo is cooked in one pan (use a big skillet with high sides and a thick bottom).
- This dish is ideal for use leftover chicken! Combine the creamy orzo with any remaining cooked chicken or chicken shreds, heat through, and serve! Chicken from a rotisserie is another “shortcut” food.
- This dish will become thicker as it cools. In this situation, thin it down before serving by adding a splash of heavy cream, half-and-half, milk, or chicken broth.
- Use a heavy-bottomed, high-sided skillet made of cast iron or high-quality stainless steel. By doing this, you may prevent burn areas and ensure even cooking without food sticking to the pan’s bottom.
- Use orzo that is labelled “gluten-free” to make this dish gluten-free.
What is orzo?
Orzo is a quick pasta that resembles long-grain rice in appearance. Like regular pasta, it is manufactured from flour. Semolina, a kind of durum wheat used to make pasta, is frequently used to make orzo.
What type of orzo to use?
The larger-sized kind of orzo is what I favor. I used orzo from the Delallo brand, Number 65 cut, in this dish.
How to cook orzo?
1 cup of orzo should be cooked for 10 minutes at a simmer in 2 cups of water or chicken stock. If the orzo is not cooked to your preference, you might need to add a little liquid at the very end.
What kind of chicken to use?
- Chicken breast that has no skin or bones. I made this recipe using this. Stripe them into shorter pieces.
- Chicken thighs that are skinless and boneless are incredibly juicy and forgiving to cook. They go really well with creamy orzo.
- Tenders or tenderloins of chicken. Small, soft chicken tenders cook in a manner akin to thinly sliced chicken breasts.
- Another excellent choice is cooked rotisserie chicken.
Can it be made without dairy?
- Use unsweetened coconut milk in place of the sweetened kind in this recipe.
- Another excellent choice is cashew milk because of its thicker consistency.
- As these dairy-free milk alternatives have a thinner consistency, you will likely need to cut the amount by half. Therefore, gradually add them to the orzo in much smaller amounts than what the recipe asks for. Oat milk or almond milk should also work.
- Utilize various proteins. Salmon, shrimp, scallops, sausage, and other lean meats can all be simply substituted for the chicken in this dish. Even steak slices work well with this creamy orzo.
- Add extra vegetables. This comprises bell peppers, kale, arugula, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms.
- cheese should be included. Top the creamy chicken orzo with freshly grated Parmesan, Asiago, Gruyere, or Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Include pine nuts as a garnish. It makes sense to put entire pine nuts as a garnish on this chicken orzo as pine nuts are typically used to make basil pesto. They’ll give it a wonderful crunch and nutty taste! For an even fuller taste, I prefer to gently and quickly roast pine nuts in the oven.
- Add extra garnishes like chopped chives, green onions, or fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or oregano.
- Make it hot. Heat will be added with red pepper flakes. To avoid overpowering the meal, use them sparingly and according to taste.
Tips for storing and reheating
- Fridge. For up to 4 days, keep creamy chicken orzo refrigerated in an airtight container. This meal shouldn’t be frozen, in my opinion.
- Use the microwave to reheat. Reheat the chilled leftovers for approximately a minute in the microwave. If necessary, taste and reheat for a further 30 seconds.
- On the stovetop, reheat. Reheat this meal over low to medium heat in a large, high-sided pan. When using this technique, thin up the sauce before reheating by adding a little quantity of heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk.
- 1.5 lb chicken breasts skinless, boneless
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup orzo uncooked
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 10 oz cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 oz fresh spinach
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup basil pesto
- Slice chicken breasts into thinner strips. Generously season the chicken with smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Heat a large, high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add chicken. Cook the chicken on medium heat for about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate.
- To the same, now empty, skillet, add 1 cup of uncooked orzo, 5 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the orzo on medium heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes until browned.
- Add 2 cups of chicken stock, half of the cherry tomatoes, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 or 10 minutes, occasionally stirring to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the orzo is cooked through.
- Add spinach and the remaining cherry tomatoes. Stir everything on low-medium heat until the spinach wilts.
- Add heavy cream and basil pesto to the skillet with orzo and veggies and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Return the chicken to the skillet. Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce to heat through and until the chicken is completely cooked through.