Pasta and rice (or carbs and carbs) have always been favorites of mine. Add a creamy cheese sauce, and you may have the perfect food as far as I’m concerned. In fact, I’m struggling to think of ever meeting anyone who doesn’t like pasta and cheese, which is probably why I found this Creamy Parmesan Orzo recipe so attractive. I served it as a side with Italian Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms, and it was a great pairing!
This post was originally published on September 27, 2017. The text and photos were updated on July 21, 2021. The review and rating have not been changed.
This creamy parmesan orzo is a quick and easy side dish packed with lots of flavor, and of course, cheese.
I’ve been working on using up the same block of parmesan cheese for a while now. I splurged and bought it in the deli section for another recipe, and I’ve found uses for several more since then. I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it for sure, and it tastes so much better than what I find in the dairy case. A little goes a long way, and I had enough for this meal shredded in a minute or two.
I did change 1 thing, though. I already had 2% low-fat milk on hand, so I used it instead of whole milk. The orzo was still really rich and creamy, so I don’t think it made much of a difference except in a few calories. Probably very few LOL!
This orzo dish was really quick to make. Prep was 5 minutes, and it took 22 minutes total. The recipe lists a total time of 25 minutes, so I’ll call that dead-on accurate. I liked that I was able to let the pasta cook in a small saucepan while I made the parmesan-cream sauce.
A large saute pan was perfect for the sauce—it allowed me to stir and kept the sauce contained, plus it had room for the orzo. I found that I didn’t need to cook the shallot and garlic very long before it started to brown, so I kept it at the 2-minute minimum listed so it didn’t burn.
One thing that is important here is stirring the sauce. It starts to get a skin on it if you stop stirring for very long, though it seemed to go away once I started stirring again.
Finally, I topped my Creamy Parmesan Orzo with chopped fresh parsley. The author does note that basil could be used instead, and I’m looking forward to trying it that way. I have a feeling the stronger taste of the basil will go well with the parmesan cheese.