Lemon Orzo Risotto

I found this recipe on Epicurious.com. This recipe makes a lot, and I mean a lot. Typically, I like to divide this recipe in half, but if you are bringing this to a potluck or a large gathering, go with the full recipe.

To see the original recipe, click here.

Orzo is mistaken for rice often, although it is a small pasta. This recipe is 'orzo risotto' because it's prepared very similar to a regular risotto (which is made with Arborio rice). This recipe is simple to make and less time consuming than a real risotto!


2 cups of uncooked Orzo

3 cups of boiling water

3 cups of low-sodium chicken stock

3 tablespoons of olive oil

zest and juice of 1large juicy lemon

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Large handful of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

handful of fresh basil, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper


Step 1: In a large pot, over medium heat, add the olive oil and allow it to heat up. Add the onions first, season with salt and pepper, saute for 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, mix and cook for another minute.

Step 2: Add the dry orzo to the pot. Incorporate everything together and allow this to cook for roughly 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Step 3: Add the boiling water and the chicken stock to the pot and stir. Allow the orzo to absorb all the liquid until the orzo is nice and creamy, around 10-15 minutes.

Step 4: When the orzo is cooked, zest the lemon, add to the pot then add the juice of the lemon. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and basil. Mix together and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

My Variation:

For a quick little lunch for 2, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a sauce pot over medium heat, then I add 1/2 tbsp of butter. Let the butter melt then add 1/2 chopped onion, and saute for 2 minutes. Then add 1 clove of minced garlic and saute for another minute. Add 1/4 cup of chopped bell peppers (any colour combo) and 2 green onions. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes then add 1 cup of dried orzo pasta. Mix everything together and cook for 5 minutes. Then add 3 cups of low sodium chicken stock and bring to a light boil.

When almost all of the liquid is absorbed, lower the heat to low. Add the zest of 1 lime and the juice of half. Add any cooked meat you like; I added a small handful of left over turkey. Add 1/4 cup of any shredded cheese (I used old sharp white cheddar cheese). Mix together and add a little more black pepper and garnish with green onions.