Everyday Herb Butter Orzo Pasta
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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.
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.
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.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.