This Easy Asparagus Orzotto is made in one pan and is totally delicious. Topped with goats cheese for extra flavour, it takes less than 20 minutes to make and is such a crowd-pleaser. Perfect for busy weeknight dinners or a feast with friends, it's such a versatile dish to always have in your saved favourites!
I am in love with this dish! It's super creamy and full of flavour. You've got the asparagus and spinach as greenery throughout the dish, combined with the wonderful flavours from the dried herbs, veggie stock, and parmesan. Then, last but not least, the Asparagus Orzotto is topped with slices of goats cheese and crushed walnuts for a bit of extra flavour and crunch.
Orzotto has to be one of my new favourite types of pasta dishes. It's essentially a combination of orzo (pasta) and risotto. It takes about half the time as risotto because you're cooking a pasta instead of arborio rice, but it's just as good! Some of my other favourite orzo dishes are my Tomato Orzotto and my Garlic Confit Orzo.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- One Pan - You heard me, this orzo with asparagus recipe is made in one pan. It saves on washing up, using stovetop space, and all you've got to do is place the whole dish down onto the table and it's ready to serve! If you're looking for more one pan dishes, you've got to try my Eggs and Sardines one pan recipe. It's inspired by Tunisian Shakshouka, it's full of nutrients, and perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or, if you fancy something more creamy, this cheesy quick baked chicken with cream of chicken soup is just for you!
- Quick - Not only is this dish full of flavour and really comforting, but it takes less than 20 minutes to make which is ideal for a weeknight dinner. It's full of fresh veggies, cheese, and topped with walnuts, so it gives off quite a "posh" and elegant style dinner, but really it's just taken you minimal time and effort!
- Meal-Preppable - Another wonderful thing that I love about this dish is that it's perfect for meal prep. You can make a load of this asparagus orzotto in advance and then place it into Tupperwares, ready for when you want to eat it throughout the week! If you're looking for more meal-prep style meals, you should definitely check out my Sticky Ginger Aubergine Recipe, my Butter Bean Curry, or my French Onion Cottage Pie.
Ingredients You'll Need
Shallots: I love using shallots because they're a bit sweeter than regular onions. Feel free to use red or white onions though, if you only have them available.
Garlic: I've used raw garlic for this recipe as I believe it brings out the most authentic flavours. However, if you've only got garlic powder, then feel free to use that and start with a little bit and add more if you think the dish needs more.
Basil or Mint: You can either use dried basil or dried mint for this recipe, both work really well. I just thought I'd give you the option because some people find mint quite an overpowering flavour. So, if that's the case, I'd recommend using basil. But mint works really well for this dish. You could also use fresh, but if you do that, then I'd recommend adding them nearer the end of the dish rather than at the start, because you don't want them to wilt too much and lose flavour.
Orzo: One of my favourite pasta types is orzo. It's a small type of pasta shaped like rice that takes a small amount of time to cook, so it's a great pasta shape for when you're short on time. If you don't have orzo, then here are 20 substitutes for orzo that you might want to check out!
Stock: I always use stock cubes and then combine them with water. I've used vegetable stock cubes for this recipe but you could also use beef or chicken. You just need to add around 500ml of water to the stock cube and you've got yourself a flavourful, salty, broth that elevates the taste of the orzo and dish.
Spinach: I've used fresh spinach for this asparagus orzotto but feel free to use frozen spinach too. I love adding spinach to orzo dishes, not only because it adds an extra bit of colour, but its great for additional nutrients.
Asparagus: Chop off the tough end of the asparagus (near the stem) and then cut the asparagus spears into three. Asparagus is low in calories, high in fibre, and very nutritious, so a great vegetable to be adding into this dish.
Parmesan: Grated parmesan adds a lovely creaminess and tang to this dish. You can also use pecorino or cheddar cheese if you can't get parmesan.
Goats Cheese: We use this as a topping for the asparagus orzotto. It adds an extra creaminess and flavour profile that compliments the dish.
Walnuts: If you're looking for that bit of a crunch, these crushed walnuts will complete this dish. I love the deep and rich nuttiness from the walnuts, but you could also use pine nuts, hazelnuts, or roughly chopped almonds.
Orzo: Arborio rice is a wonderful alternative to orzo in your orzotto recipe. Known for its creamy texture, it's commonly used in risotto dishes, absorbing flavours exceptionally well. When cooked, Arborio rice releases starch, creating a velvety, satisfying texture that mimics the comfort of orzo. Just be aware that using rice will take longer to cook! If you don't fancy using arborio rice, check out my 20 substitutes for orzo!
Asparagus: Green beans offer a delightful crunch and freshness to your orzotto, making them an excellent substitute for asparagus. Their mildly sweet flavour complements the dish, and they maintain a crisp texture when cooked, providing a lovely contrast to the creamy orzotto.
Goats Cheese: Feta cheese, with its tangy and creamy profile, is a suitable replacement for goat's cheese in your orzotto. When heated, it softens beautifully, imparting a rich and savoury taste to the dish. Its slightly crumbly texture adds a pleasant contrast to the creamy orzotto, enhancing the overall flavour.
Walnuts: Pine nuts bring a buttery flavour and a subtle crunch, making them an ideal substitute for walnuts in your orzotto. They add a delightful nuttiness to the dish without overwhelming the other flavours. Alternatively, consider using slivered almonds for a different texture, creating a lovely blend with the orzotto ingredients.
Asparagus Orzotto Recipe Variations
Vegan Orzotto: To make this orzotto vegan, use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan, and then replace the goats cheese with vegan goats cheese or a plant-based cream cheese.
Protein-Packed Orzotto: Boost the protein content of your orzotto by adding grilled or roasted chicken breast slices. Marinate the chicken in a blend of lemon juice, garlic, and herbs for extra flavour. Additionally, incorporate cooked white beans or chickpeas, which complement the creamy texture of the orzotto.
Spicy Orzotto: Infuse your orzotto with heat by incorporating red pepper flakes or finely chopped fresh chili peppers. Sauté the asparagus with garlic, chili, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick. For protein, add spicy Italian sausage or spicy tofu crumbles for a vegan option. Enhance the spiciness with a dash of hot sauce or harissa paste. Finish with a generous sprinkle of chopped cilantro (coriander) and a squeeze of lime juice to balance the heat with a hint of citrus freshness.
Step 1: Place your pan on medium heat and add in a drizzle of oil, followed by your shallots, garlic, herbs, a pinch of flaky salt, and a grind of black pepper. Give everything a stir and fry for a few minutes until softened.
Step 2: Add in your orzo and fry for a couple of minutes to extract extra flavour.
Step 3: Pour in your vegetable stock, bring to the boil and then reduce to simmer. Stir continuously as the orzo will easily stick to the bottom if you're not careful! Add more stock gradually if it begins sticking to the bottom.
Step 4: After about 6 minutes of cooking your orzo, add in your spinach and asparagus. Stir until well combined.
Step 5: After around 9-11 minutes, your asparagus orzotto should be ready. Add in your grated parmesan cheese and give everything a good mix. Taste to check if the orzo is ready, and season according to your preferences - you can add more salt, black pepper, herbs, or parmesan to suit your taste.
Step 6: Lastly, top with your sliced goats cheese and your crushed walnuts for extra crunch. Serve up and enjoy!
- Once you've poured your orzo into your dish, make sure to stir frequently to avoid the pasta sticking to the bottom of your pan. If it begins sticking, then pour in a bit more stock.
- To add a bit more flavour for those who like a bit of spice, I'd recommend adding in a teaspoon of smoked paprika for a bit more of a kick.
- Great for meal-prep. Because it's all made in one-pan, its a great dish to prepare in advance and store away for busy days ahead.
What To Do With Leftovers
Storage: Store any leftover Asparagus Orzotto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure the container is sealed well to preserve the freshness of the dish.
Freezing: While pasta dishes can be a bit tricky to freeze due to texture changes upon defrosting, you can freeze Asparagus Orzotto successfully with a few tips. Portion the leftovers into individual airtight freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. Try to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to 1-2 months. When reheating, there might be a slight change in texture, but the flavours will still be delicious.
- From the Refrigerator: Reheat the refrigerated orzo in a pan on low heat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a splash of broth, water, or milk to help recreate the creamy consistency, stirring gently until heated through. Avoid high heat to prevent curdling.
- From the Freezer: Thaw frozen Asparagus Orzotto in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a bit of liquid (broth, water, or milk) to restore creaminess. Stir continuously over low heat until heated thoroughly.
FAQs For Asparagus Orzotto
Certainly! While orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta, you can substitute it with Arborio rice for a more traditional risotto texture. Adjust the cooking time and the amount of liquid accordingly. You can also check out 20 orzo substitutes if you're not a fan of rice or want the dish to come together in a shorter amount of time.
To maintain the crisp texture of asparagus, we add the asparagus into the pan after the orzo has cooked for at least 6-7 minutes. This ensures that the asparagus only cooks for a few minutes, resulting in it being slightly crunchy and delicious.
If you're not a fan of goat cheese or don't have it, substitute it with feta cheese for a tangy flavour. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preferences.
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Easy Asparagus Orzotto (One Pan)
- 1 Pan
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon dried basil or mint
- 150g orzo
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 100g spinach
- 125g asparagus, brake off the tough bottom 1 or 2 inches, and then slice into 1 inch pieces
- 3 tablespoon grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoon walnuts, crushed
- 100g goats cheese, sliced
- Place your pan on medium heat and add in a drizzle of oil, followed by your shallots, garlic, herbs, a pinch of flaky salt, and a grind of black pepper. Give everything a stir and fry for a few minutes until softened.
- Add in your orzo and fry for a couple of minutes to extract extra flavour.
- Pour in your vegetable stock, bring to the boil and then reduce to simmer. Stir continuously as the orzo will easily stick to the bottom if you're not careful! Add more stock gradually if it begins sticking to the bottom.
- After about 6 minutes of cooking your orzo, add in your spinach and asparagus. Stir until well combined.
- After around 9-11 minutes, your asparagus orzotto should be ready. Add in your grated parmesan cheese and give everything a good mix. Taste to check if the orzo is ready, and season according to your preferences - you can add more salt, black pepper, herbs, or parmesan to suit your taste.
- Lastly, top with your sliced goats cheese and your crushed walnuts for extra crunch. Serve up and enjoy!