CHEESY LEMON ORZO — Orzo pasta is cooked in broth and light cream, seasoned with garlic and basil, then finished off with three kinds of melty cheese and a dash of lemon zest, in this versatile side dish the whole family will love.
Side dishes are the hardest part of dinner time for me, which is why I love this Cheesy Lemon Orzo recipe so much!
Everyone in my family loves it. It’s super easy to make, and I usually have the ingredients on hand. Not that I always have fancy cheeses in the refrigerator, but I always have some kind of cheese in the refrigerator.
And as long as it’s a nice melty cheese, like mozzarella, you can definitely substitute it for the Gruyere or Fontina. In a pinch, I’ll even use all Parmesan cheese.
This pasta dish is totally versatile and easy to make with substitutions you have on hand. Sometimes, I even serve it as a meal on it’s own.
My youngest would eat this for lunch and dinner every day of the week and never complain. That’s how much we love this orzo!
And like I said, it’s a great vegetarian meal on it’s own if you sub vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Add a nice green salad on the side and it’s a hearty, satisfying meal that even the pickiest eaters will love.
This recipe does make a lot, so if you aren’t serving a crowd, you might want to make half. I don’t know what it is about pasta, but the finished dish always seems like so much more than what you start with!
If spice isn’t your thing, feel free to leave off the crushed red pepper flakes at the end.
This Cheesy Lemon Orzo is definitely a recipe everyone should have in their recipe box. I hope you love it as much as we do.
Be sure to save this Cheesy Lemon Orzo recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Cheesy Lemon Orzo
- Produce: onions, garlic, lemons, fresh basil
- Spices: dried basil, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes
- Chicken broth
- Half and Half
- Gruyere, Fontina and Parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces orzo pasta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup Half and Half or light cream, plus more as needed
- 1 cup grated Fontina cheese
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Zest of one lemon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Cook orzo according to package directions; rinse with cool water and drain. Set aside.
- In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the onion, garlic, and dried basil. Cook until the onion is soft, 3-5 minutes.
- Add the broth and Half and Half and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Stir the cooked orzo into the pan. Add the Fontina, Gruyere and Parmesan and cook, stirring often, for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Stir in the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Just before serving, stir in the fresh basil. Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 568mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 19g
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Who Dished It Up First: Adapted from Everyday Dinners