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Cheesy Tomato One Pot Orzo Risotto (Orzotto)

Nov 13, 2022 | 2 comments

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.

Tomato orzotto on a white plate with pan of more orzo in the background.

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)


Ingredients for cheesy tomato orzotto laid out on a grey marble background and labelled.
  • 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 tomato jar into a large pot or pan. Stir them 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 look 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?

What kind of tomatoes are best?

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.

Can I make this in advance?

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.

I don’t like olives – what else can I use?

You can just use more of the sundried tomatoes or use capers for a similar salty hit.

Can I use fresh tomatoes?

Yes! Use the same quantity of fresh tomatoes – roughly 4 large tomatoes. Make sure you chop them up reasonably finely so they can soften down nicely.

Could I add anything else to the orzo?

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.

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Tomato orzotto on a white plate with pan of more orzo in the background.

Cheesy Tomato One Pot Orzo Risotto (Orzotto)

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


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.

It’s also great for meal prep, and is easily customisable based on what you have in your kitchen.


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon oil from your sundried tomato jar
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely diced
  • 1 can (typically 400g/14oz) plum tomatoes (or use crushed tomatoes or passata)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, roughly chopped or torn
  • 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups orzo
  • 2 1/2 cups water (or use vegetable or chicken stock)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 ball mozzarella, torn
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Cook the garlic and chilli. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot or pan with high sides and set over a low heat. Add the sliced garlic, diced red chilli and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir through the oil for a couple of minutes. We’re just looking for them to soften slightly, so watch the garlic as it can easily burn. PRO TIP: Add a splash (1/2 tablespoon) of water to the pan if you think your garlic is starting to take on colour – the water will help the garlic soften and will stop too much colour forming.
  2. Add the tomatoes, olives, orzo and water. Add the tin of plum tomatoes, the chopped olives and sundried tomatoes. Give them a stir, then add the orzo. Give it a little stir through the sauce, then add all 2 ½ cups of water. Stir the water through, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure you do watch it and stir it because orzo likes to stick to the bottom of the pan. If that does happen, you should be able to scrape it off the bottom with your spatula. 
  3. Finish the orzo. After 10 minutes of simmering, the sauce should be looking nice and thick and the orzo should be al dente (cooked but still with a little bite in the middle). Give it a little taste to check. If the orzo is still a little firm, you can cook it for another few minutes. Once you’re happy the orzo is al dente, add the 1/2 cup of grated parmesan and half the torn basil leaves. Stir them through the orzo. The parmesan will melt into the sauce, making it extra creamy and delicious. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Garnish and serve. Dollop the torn pieces of mozzarella all over the top of the orzo, then finish with the rest of the basil leaves, a good grind of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 


You can play around with the ingredients here – switch out the parmesan and mozzarella for feta, cream cheese, boursin or blue cheese, swap basil for thyme, parsley or coriander, use jarred artichokes, capers or red peppers, cook down a couple of tablespoons of ‘nduja or chopped chorizo at the beginning (if you’re not vegetarian) or stir through a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves at the end. It’s a great one for using up bits and bobs in your kitchen.

This is a great one for meal prep – it’ll last for 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Just reheat in the microwave or on the stove-top. I like to add a little bit of water (1 tablespoon) just to help the sauce loosen up as it will thicken up in the fridge.

I love topping this with parmesan crisps for something extra special.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: pasta
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: italian


  • Serving Size: 350g

Keywords: tomato risotto, tomato pasta, one pot pasta


I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.





This e-book includes my absolute favourite fakeaway recipes (popular takeaway dishes you can make at home!)

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  1. Callum

    Quick, easy and super tasty.


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