Orzo pasta takes the place of Arborio rice in this quick and creamy chicken and pumpkin orzotto.
If your looking for a Risotto recipe, try our tasty Pumpkin Pecan Risotto with Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese or the Bacon and Sweet Pea Risotto.
What Is Orzo
Orzo, also known as risoni, is a short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. It is traditionally made from white flour, but it can also be made of whole grain.
In Italy, where orzo originates, is classified as pastina or “little pasta,” which is a category of small, shaped pastas.
Orzo is typically used in many Italian dishes, including soups, pasta salads, grain bowls, and other dishes where a petite pasta is needed.
Orzo can be made like rice with a two-to-one ratio of water to dried pasta and will offer a creamier texture. The best part? Your cooking time will be about half of what it takes to make a pot of white rice.
Chicken and Pumpkin Orzotto
Orzo is a fun, versatile pasta that can not only be served as a side dish in place of rice, but can also be prepared as a risotto dish.
Risotto is a dish that requires a specific type of rice — arborio — as well as plenty of patience and continual stirring to get the texture just right.
However, using orzo can be more forgiving and takes less time. Plus, the starch from the pasta will give a nice creamy texture to your meal.
1 pound chicken thighs, skinless, boneless, diced, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp butter unsalted, divided
1 small onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
2 cups orzo dry
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cream
1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
Stir 4 cups of the chicken broth with pumpkin puree in large sauce pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a bowl. Turn heat to low.
In a large skillet over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Next add diced chicken and cook until chicken is oblique. Remove chicken from pan and set aside in a small bowl.
In the same large skillet, add the olive oil, 4 tablespoons of butter and allow butter to melt, about 30 seconds.
Next, stir in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion softens and the garlic becomes aromatic, about 2 minutes.
Add the orzo to the skillet and stir until orzo starts to toast lightly, about 2 minutes. This will give it a nutty flavor.
Add one cup of the broth mixture to orzo and stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding a half cup of the mixture at a time, stirring often between additions, until liquid is absorbed.
Cook until orzo is tender and mixture is creamy.
If orzotto is too thick, stir in an additional ½ cup broth until loosened but not soupy.
Next stir in the Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Add the chicken and vegetables and mix until combined.
Plate and serve immediately.