Creamy Orzo

This fall weather really seems to make my family crave comfort foods, and I can’t imagine anything more comforting than a steaming dish of creamy pasta. This recipe for orzo (a rice-shaped pasta) really fits the bill and is my kids’ current favorite meal.

I love it because I can whip it together in about 20-30 minutes, and it’s made with things that I usually have readily at hand. It makes a last minute supper feel like something special rather than an afterthought.
The amount of cream may sound like a lot, but this recipe makes quite a large amount of pasta, and usually sees us through one filling dinner, with enough left over for lunch the next day. I’ve tried substituting milk for some of the cream, but it’s just not the same.

Creamy Orzo (Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis)

1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped (I usually just use a couple of tablespoons of chopped onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, juices drained
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season the orzo with salt and pepper, and serve. Okay, now I’m hungry.

2 thoughts on “Creamy Orzo”

  • I just realized that I have orzo in the cupboard. I think I’ll try this recipe, it looks delicious. Have you ever used fresh tomatoes instead of canned? I have an over abondance of fresh tomatoes at the moment.

  • Hi Carla,
    I think I may have done it once before when I had tomatoes that needed using. I can’t see why it would be a problem. Let me know what you think!
    Oh, by the way, I made your quesadillas for dinner the other night and they were a big hit. Thanks!

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