I was trying to find good side dishes to serve with the Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe that we’ve been enjoying, and someone mentioned that she liked eating orzo and asparagus with Chicken Cordon Bleu. I knew that Mellow Man liked and wanted Asparagus, but I thought I’d try my hand at Orzo. Since I didn’t have a recipe, I went looking for one, and this is one that we now make a lot. It’s a quick and easy recipe for Orzo and goes with many dishes. I found the original version at All Recipes, which is a fabulous online recipe repository. I’ve made some minor modifications to the recipe, but the original one is very good too.
Parmesan Orzo Ingredients
- 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup of Uncooked Orzo
- 2 Cups (16 ounces) Chicken Broth
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated (Don’t use the stuff in a jar that you get at the Pizza Parlor!)
- 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Basil (optional)
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
Now, if the flavor of the basil doesn’t go with the other food that you are eating, you can skip the basil and increase the quantity of Parmesan, slightly, to 1/3 of a cup. The original recipe had 1/2 cup of cheese, and Mellow Man and the Big One felt it was too heavy and cheesy, and responded more positively when I cut the cheese in half. (Again, I love cheese, so free to consult the original recipe if you’d like to try it that way.)
I use a deep non-stick skillet with a lid to cook the orzo. Melt the butter in the skillet, and once it is melted in its entirety, add the Orzo. Then stirring it consistantly within the butter until it’s browned (see the picture above to take note of the color.) It really only takes about 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat to reach a nice color. Pour in the chicken broth– this is why you need a deep skillet. Keep stirring the mixture and it will come to a boil. Then lower the temp to medium-low and cover it with a skillet. The broth will be absorbed into the orzo. It should take 15-20 minutes.
Once the broth is nearly absorbed into the orzo, add the parmesan and if you’d like, the basil. The stir them in, and let the orzo thicken up just a bit. This takes two or three minutes more before it’s ready to serve.
It is such a nice recipe, and if you like basil, it’s a great addition to add some flavor to the pasta!