This SUPER easy tomato orzo risotto (or orzotto!) takes just 20 minutes, is packed with flavour and made all in one pot for the ultimate quick weeknight meal.
Orzo (or risoni) is a great way to get a risotto-esque dish, full of all the flavour and comfort of the original, in a fraction of the time. I love a risotto, but sometimes you want something quick and fuss-free, without having to babysit the pot and constantly stir.
And this one is a serious winner. It uses store cupboard staples to create something really special. Tinned tomatoes, jarred sundried tomatoes and olives are the stars here and I think you’re going to love it just as much as I do. Adding parmesan and mozzarella at the end just ups the luxurious factor (and who doesn’t love gooey cheese?)
The beauty of making this orzotto in one pot is twofold: it cuts the washing up RIGHT down, and it means all the starchy goodness from the orzo transfers into the sauce, making it even more creamy and luscious without having to add cream.
Once you know the base technique for a one pot orzo dish like this, you can really get creative. I love it as a way to use up any odds and ends you have in the fridge and perfect for using up slightly sad looking veggies.
The formula is essentially –
- Soften any veggies and aromatics (onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes etc)
- Add orzo and stir through
- Add your liquid (stock or water)
- Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally
- Add finishing touches (stir through cheese, leafy greens, extra seasoning)
There’s nothing complicated here – everything is easy to find in a supermarket and you probably have a lot of these in your kitchen already.
- Orzo. If you’ve not use it before, orzo (or risoni) is a small rice shaped pasta that I think is super underrated. It cooks quickly and makes a great replacement for risotto rice here.
- Tinned tomatoes. I like using whole, peeled plum tomatoes but you could use crushed, chopped or even passata here. Try to get a good quality tinned tomato, like Mutti, if possible.
- Olives. I LOVE Kalamata olives here, but you can just choose your favourite. Or if you’re not a fan of olives, just use more sundried tomatoes.
- Sundried tomatoes. Try to go for semi-dried tomatoes in olive oil if you can, they’re a lot softer and will really melt into the sauce as it cooks. If you can’t find them though, regular sundried tomatoes are absolutely fine.
- Garlic and chilli. Leave out the chilli if you’re not a fan of spicy food, or cooking for kids. You could also use 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes in place of the fresh chilli here.
The recipe calls for water for ease, but for an even more flavour packed dish, use vegetable or chicken stock.
How to make it
Start by getting your garlic, chilli and a little oil from your sundried tomatoes jar into a large pot or pan. Give them a stir through the oil until they start to soften. Then, go in with the tinned tomatoes, olives and sundried tomatoes and give everything a good mix.
Add the orzo, then the water (or stock) and give it a stir. Simmer the orzo for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan (it really likes doing this!) If it does stick, just scrape it off the bottom with your spatula.
After 10 minutes, the sauce should be looking thick and creamy. Give your orzo a little taste – you want it to be ‘al dente’ – cooked, but with a little bite to it. If it’s still a little hard, let it cook for a few more minutes until you’re happy with it. Then, add the grated parmesan and stir it through the orzo. It’ll melt into the sauce and make it extra creamy and delicious. Remove the pan from the heat, then dollop over torn pieces of mozzarella, scatter over some basil leaves, give it a good grind of black pepper and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Got a question?
I use tinned tomatoes here for ease – I like using whole, peeled plum tomatoes, but you could use crushed, chopped or passata. Try to get a good quality tinned tomato for the best flavour if you can.
You can! It’s wonderful for meal prep. The sauce will thicken up in the fridge so you can add a tiny bit of water when you’re reheating it to loosen things up. Reheat it either on the stovetop or in the microwave. It’ll last at least 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
You can just use more of the sundried tomatoes or use capers for a similar salty hit.
Yes! Use the same quantity of fresh tomatoes – roughly 4 large tomatoes. Make sure you chop them up reasonably finely so they are able to soften down nicely.
This is a brilliant base recipe and you can get creative with what you add. I love to stir through a couple of handfuls of spinach at the end, or you could add jarred artichokes, and red pepper, or use feta instead of mozzarella at the end.
Like this recipe? Here are some other quick ideas you might enjoy
If you make this recipe, I’d love to know what you think! You can leave me a comment below and share how you got on.Print