Creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo

Creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo
Creamy Spinach Parmesan Orzo
While practically all pasta dishes can be deemed "family-friendly," this one might just win the prize. I think it has something to do with the way orzo appeases everyone at the table. Maybe it's because of its cute, rice-like shape or its almost-spoonable quality. Regardless, it's a fast-cooking favorite for weeknight ease, and a great vehicle for handfuls of spinach.
Turn that orzo into a one-pot meal, where the liquid it's cooked in becomes a ridiculously creamy sauce before baby spinach and Parmesan are stirred in. What you have is a dinner that's guaranteed a recurring spot on your weekly meal plan. So you should pencil it in right away.
Since orzo is so quick-cooking, it's a perfect choice for a one-pot dinner. It will cook up fast in a simmering pot of chicken or vegetable broth and milk, and the starch that leaches out of the pasta actually helps to thicken the creamy sauce. There's little work required of you, besides stirring in a few big handfuls of roughly chopped baby spinach (chopped so that it wilts extra fast) and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound orzo pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and orzo, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in the broth and milk and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook the pasta to al dente, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed and has formed a creamy sauce for the pasta, about 10 minutes or according to package instructions. (If the pasta isn’t completely cooked once this has happened, you can add another splash or two of broth to the pot and continue to simmer until it has.) Stir in the spinach and Parmesan cheese until the spinach has just wilted and the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with additional grated cheese if desired.
Recipe Notes
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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