Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Creamy Orzo and Chicken

This is an easy and delicious skillet supper. Orzo is such a tiny pasta shape that it cooks quickly; another bonus! This recipe comes to us from Mel's Kitchen Cafe - she is full of great food ideas and this is another one. I adapted it slightly (one big change: using less orzo) and was happy with the result. This serves 6 as written; using up to a pound of orzo would stretch it further.

Start by cooking the orzo in a large pot of boiling water. When it is tender, reserve a cup of the pasta water, then drain the orzo and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the chicken until nicely browned but not cooked through.

Add the mushrooms, red pepper

and thyme

and cook about 5 minutes til the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic

and cook an additional minute until fragrant. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and add it into the skillet (the smaller pieces helps the cream cheese to melt more quickly and evenly).

Add the reserved pasta water then bring the mixture to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add the lemon juice


and orzo.

Stir well to mix; then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

To serve, sprinkle with additional Parmesan and garnish with parsley.

Find more great ideas at What's Cooking Wednesday , It's a Keeper Thursday, Full Plate Thursday.

Creamy Orzo and Chicken

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 chicken breasts (about 1 to 1 ½ pounds), cut into chunks
2 small red peppers, cut into ½-inch pieces
8 ounces white mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 oz. orzo
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions until tender. When the orzo is ready, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the orzo and set aside.

While the orzo cooks, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot oil and brown on all sides. When nicely browned (but not all the way cooked through), add the peppers, mushrooms and thyme. Stir and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms and peppers have softened and browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the softened cream cheese in bite sized chunks and stir so that the cream cheese melts and coats the chicken and vegetables. Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Add the orzo, Parmesan, lemon juice and parsley. Stir to combine and heat through. Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley. Serves 6.


  1. Love your step-by-step photos, Sara! I'm happy you liked this dish!

  2. Oh yum Sara, this looks like an awesome dish packed with goodness. I sure would love to try it. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and please come back!

  3. This sounds delish. I've been looking for a recipe with Orzo. Will have to try this.

  4. Think this has become one of my favorite recipes! Thank you so much! I love chicken in rice and a creamy base. YUM.


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