Toasted Orzo with Garlic and Spinach


Toasted Orzo with Garlic and Spinach

Pan-toasting the pasta in a bit of butter and olive oil adds depth of flavor to this simple orzo recipe. Combined with a hearty portion of sautéed garlic, fresh spinach and grated Parmesan, it's a versatile side dish that complements a wide variety of simple main dishes.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword Dinner, Recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Lynne Webb


  • 3/4 lb. orzo
  • 3 tbsp. butter divided
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil divided
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth may need as much as 3 3/4 cups
  • 4 cloves garlic or 5, minced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach roughly chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated


  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan (preferably nonstick) over medium heat.
  • Add the dry orzo, stir to coat thoroughly with the butter and oil and cook, stirring frequently, until a good portion of the orzo is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Stir in 2-1/2 cups of the chicken broth and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Although it will most likely still be too firm, check the orzo for doneness. Add another 1/4 cup of broth, cover and cook until it's absorbed, 2 minutes.
  • Repeat the process, adding broth in 1/4 cup increments until the orzo is tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Start adding spinach, a handful at a time and continue cooking until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Return the orzo to the pan, combine with the spinach and heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese, adjust the seasoning to taste and transfer to a serving dish.

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