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Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal or a delicious side dish for your next dinner party, this flavorful orzo with fresh herb butter is here for you! Ready in 15 minutes, the cooked orzo is combined with a creamy herb butter for a rich flavor. Fresh grated garlic adds a bold, aromatic kick, while fresh lemon zest provides a refreshing burst of citrus.
Orzo is frequently on the table in my house, and for good reason. It’s a versatile, quick-cooking pasta that cooks in just 10 minutes to make as a side dish, or as a one-dish chicken with orzo dinner.
Follow this step-by-step recipe and enjoy one of the easiest pasta recipes you’ll ever make!
- Serve herb butter orzo as side dish as a vegetarian main course along with simple veggies like 15-minute sauteed broccoli.
- This buttery, cheesy orzo is perfect to round out your dinner menu, alongside protein like baked chicken, grilled meat or fish. Don’t forget one of the best pesto sauce uses is pairing with pasta!
About the ingredients
- Orzo: Dry orzo pasta is shaped like barley or long grains of rice. Like other types of short pasta, Italian orzo is made from durum wheat flour. I love to use it in a wide range of dishes, like soups, orzo pasta salad, and risotto.
- Herbs: To season the butter, use any soft fresh herbs you enjoy, such as parsley, basil, tarragon, oregano or chives.
- Lemon: Fresh lemon zest adds bright burst of citrus to the butter. Feel free to omit it if you don’t have fresh lemons on hand.
- Butter: You can use your choice of salted or unsalted butter. For extra rich indulgent taste, try using a European-style butter (my favorite!).
- Garlic: A little garlic goes a long way. Use a small clove (about 1/2 teaspoon grated) or about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
- Cheese Parmesan cheese adds a distinctive nutty, salty flavor to the finished dish.
- Olive oil: A small amount of extra virgin olive oil blends with the butter to make a rich-tasting sauce.
How to cook orzo perfectly
Orzo may resemble rice, but since it cooks much faster (in about half the time), it’s a convenient option when you’re short on time.
In this recipe, all you need to do is mix together a flavorful herb butter while the orzo cooks in a pot of boiling, salted water.
Everyday Herb Butter Orzo Pasta
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) butter, softened at room temperature for about 10 minutes
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, or other soft herbs
- ½ teaspoon grated garlic
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated lemon zest, about 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces (226 g) dried orzo pasta
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup (30 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Combine the butter with the parsley (or other herbs), garlic, lemon and olive oil in a small dish or bowl until it's blended and creamy. The herb butter can be made ahead and refrigerated up to one week.
Cooking and serving the orzo
- Bring a 3-4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Add the orzo and cook 7-8 minutes, or just until al dente.
- Drain the orzo and immediately transfer to a serving bowl. Add the herb butter and stir until the butter melts and coats the pasta grains. Sprinkle the cheese over the orzo and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The herb butter can be made ahead and refrigerated up to one week.
- Keep any leftover herbed orzo refrigerated 3-5 days. Reheat about 2 minutes in a microwave, or 10-12 minutes in a 350 F oven.