An Easy Side | Orzo with Parmesan and Basil

I’m dreaming of summer. Cool refreshing mornings, warm breezy nights, deliciously hot days. Amazing garden vegetables, fresh herbs, fruit that is actually in season! *sigh* Sadly, I will have to keep dreaming for another few months or so. Although, apparently the groundhog didn’t see his shadow, which means spring is on its way…right? I get confused by the groundhog theory. Anyway…

The first time I had orzo was a few years ago, when my mom made this recipe. Orzo is such a fun pasta – about the size of rice, but with the bite of pasta. It makes a great pasta salad (which I have another great recipe for), a fantastic side dish, and also goes well in soups. Now, this orzo with parmesan and basil tastes best with fresh basil, but sadly, the “fresh” basil currently available at my local grocery store tends to be half brown and less than delightful. Not to fret if you have the same problem – dried basil does the trick when necessary. Whether you use fresh or dried, give this recipe a try. It really is a fantastic example of the amazing orzo! Happy eating!

Orzo with Parmesan and Basil (a la my mama)

3 TBSP. butter

1 1/2 cups orzo pasta

3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

6 TBSP. fresh basil (or 2 tsp. dried)

1/2 cup fresh parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the orzo and saute for several minutes, until the orzo starts to become golden brown. Add the broth, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the orzo has absorbed the broth. Remove from heat, add the basil and parmesan, and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Add more parmesan if you want it to be really gooey and cheesy.

This orzo is SO good. It will serve 4 very healthy portions (although honey and I can eat one batch to ourselves – piggish, right?), but if you’re having company, make sure you double the recipe. Enjoy!


  1. feastonthecheap says:

    Orzo is so woefully underused, but it’s one of my favorites. And I love the simplicity of this

  2. this looks like a great recipe!!! I loooove orzo. I put them in my pilaf & paella! that pic of the toasted orzo… I swear I can smell it!

  3. I made this for dinner tonight…seriously, I love your recipes! Want to make them all!

  4. OMG!!Amanda, this was awesome!!!! I went by exact recipe…I cook a lot….this was a awesome sidedish!!! Of course I had extra parmesan cheese! I also always use the good stuff, not jar!!!! Fresh basil is the best if you can find in season!! Thank you!!!!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed in Nymema! This is one of my very favourite orzo recipes. And you’re totally right, fresh basil and Parmesan is the way to go!


  1. […] (like the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes) were able to shine through. Serve the salmon with Orzo with Parmesan and Basil, and a steamed green like broccoli or asparagus, and you’ve got yourself an incredible, yet […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: