Everyday Orzo

by Lori on April 12, 2010

I love it when I learn a new trick.  Whether it be a nifty new gardening technique or an incredibly brilliant cooking maneuver, I get behind it and then wish I had thought of it first.

I’m always trying to find ways to save time and juggle all of the aspects of everyday life.  So when these little gifts of brilliance sneak into my life, I feel it is my duty to share them with the world…well, perhaps I shouldn’t be so large in my scope.  At the time of this post I only have 13 registered “followers” for my blog, and I have no idea how many people are actually visiting or reading my site.  Nevertheless, I will share what I believe to be the most impressive of all recent cooking maneuvers I have learned.  It has to do with pasta, and it is supreme in its greatness.  Top of the heap, people!

Your ingredients: Gruyere cheese, orzo, chicken stock, onion, butter, garlic, chives, salt, and pepper.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet (that has a fitted lid), and add chopped onion.  I tend to chop my onions somewhat fine, because one of my kids is visually averse to onions in certain foods (but loves salsa, go figure.)  Cook onions until they become translucent but do not let them brown.

Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pan begin to heat chicken stock.  You do not want it to evaporate, so bring it up just to boiling.

While the onions and chicken stock are doing their thing, mince some garlic and add it to the onions.  Cook about 2 minutes, making sure it doesn’t brown.

Add in the orzo.  Two cups of it.

Toss the orzo with the butter, onions and garlic making sure to evenly combine and coat it.

Bring the steamy stock over and pour it into your skillet.

Mix together, and bring it up to a boil.  That won’t take long because you’re incorporating hot ingredients together.

Cover the skillet and don’t peek.  Turn off the heat.  You heard me.  Turn it off.  Set your timer for 25 minutes if you must.  Or you can leave the house and take your son to basketball practice like I did.

When your 25 minutes is up or when you return home, unveil your masterpiece.  Notice there is no liquid left in the bottom of your pan?  (If there is a little and sometimes there can be, just crank the heat up and leave the lid off.  It will evaporate fairly quick.)  I usually heat the pan up over a low flame, especially if I’ve been away longer than 25 minutes.

Aaahhh Gruyere…the Queen of Swiss cheese.  Slice the rind off from one end and discard or save it to stick in your future soup pot.

Grate the cheese and measure about half of a cup.  Gruyere is delicious with a wonderful nutty flavor.  I wouldn’t substitute on the cheese, but if Gruyere is really not your thing, I’m sure a white cheddar would be delicious.  Or Parmesan.

Add in the cheese.  I used the full half cup amount and then threw in the remaining cheese that was left on the board in the photo above.  No need to waste it and sometimes I think it just needs more.

Chop some fresh chives, and I’ve used green onion tops when I don’t have chives.  I’ve also used parsley when I don’t have either of those.  Sprinkle over the top of the orzo before serving.

Every now and then you get those little stringy, cheesy bites which makes this doubly wonderful!

I serve it right out of the skillet.  It helps to keep it warm and it just feels like it should be served that way.  But don’t let its dressed down appearance fool you into thinking it wouldn’t be able to hold its own at a fancy table.

Look at this orzo all dressed up and allowed to sit at the grown-up’s table.

Here’s what I served the with the orzo.  Simply seasoned, grilled chicken breasts and my favorite way to prepare zucchini.  I developed this method when I had huge zucchini that over-grew in my veggie garden.  Slice the zucchini, put it into a zipper bag, pour in a little extra-virgin olive oil, squeeze a couple cloves of garlic through a press, salt, pepper and chopped fresh lemon thyme.  Seal the bag and mush everything around and plop onto the grill.  Easy peasy.

Busy moms/women/people of the world unite!  You can make a weeknight dinner like this without having to resort to boxed meals and take out. With the orzo taking care of itself inside, you can sit down outside (weather permitting), put up your feet and check the barbecue in about 7 minutes.  Put the zucchini on when you flip the chicken; it only needs about 7 minutes to cook.  Of course, all of this needs to be done with a glass of wine in hand.  You deserve it!


Cooking From The Couch

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 33 minutes

Total Time: 41 minutes

Yield: 6 side dish servings

I think this recipe was created for busy, multi-tasking home cooks. I urge you not to make any substitutions for the Gruyere cheese.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups orzo pasta, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Add onion and cook until soft but not browned, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock just until it begins to boil.
  5. Add orzo to onion and garlic in skillet.
  6. Stir in hot chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat.
  7. Let stand, without removing cover, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
  8. Stir in cheese until melted.
  9. Add chives and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


This recipe is from Simply Classic, a cookbook from The Junior League of Seattle.



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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

jlgraff April 12, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I cannot wait to try the orzo recipe! You're right, perfect for us busy stay-at-homers! :o)


Natalie April 13, 2010 at 2:22 am

Yum, Yum, and more Yum! Looks D-Lish!!! Gonna have to try it, for sure!

Here I am, standing up and being counted! 😀 LOL! Love reading your blog.


shannonl67 April 13, 2010 at 2:26 am

Another winner. I can't wait to try it. I would love to see the blueberry pomegranate. Maybe a post with lots of yummy summer cocktails?


shannonl67 April 13, 2010 at 2:27 am

oops, blueberry pomegranate margarita….


Anonymous April 13, 2010 at 3:22 am

You are a hoot. I love this… trying it this week.
My name is Staci Lee and Cristin S. lead me here.


Lemons and Lavender April 14, 2010 at 3:30 am

Thank you for all of the nice comments. I hope you find that the recipe works for you.

Shannon, I have definitely been thinking of summer cocktails and am collecting recipes now.

Staci Lee, welcome and thank you!


kerry April 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I still want to come and try a bite of the ice cream.


Anonymous April 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I love orzo! I am going to make this on Sunday for my Hubby!
Liz, Pensacola FL


shannonl67 April 17, 2010 at 2:22 am

"Amazing!" This is what Sophie had to say after her first bite and I couldn't agree with her more. Thanks for the recipe – I have a feeling this side dish is going to be on our table alot.


Lemons and Lavender April 18, 2010 at 3:50 am

You are so welcome! You are so good about posting feedback. I love it!!


Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary April 27, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I so have to make this. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. You might see this recipe there soon!


Lemons and Lavender April 28, 2010 at 3:31 am

Thank you Lisa! I love your Wordless Wednesday photographs, by the way.


The Noltes May 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I just found your blog by way of the link from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary. Great photographs and your writing is great, too.


Mother's Cupboard May 3, 2010 at 8:36 pm

The orzo looks great! Going to try it very soon!


Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary May 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I made this orzo and posted it over at my blog. I have to tell you….we all loved it. I am just crazy about it. So good! I'll be making it again and again. Thanks so much!!


Ruthanne (in Seattle) May 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I made the orzo the other night and went through your entire blog looking at your other recipes. Thanks so much. I think I came over from Cutting Edge of Ordinary also. Sorry I'm not a good commenter, but I'll be better. You have a great site here!


Lemons and Lavender June 10, 2010 at 11:30 pm

The Noltes…welcome and thank you for visiting my blog.

Lisa, this orzo dish is such a winner. I'm glad you guys liked it. I can't get enough of it myself! Thank you for posting it and linking it back to my blog.

Hi Ruthanne, thank you and I am so glad you liked the orzo too!


Paula September 7, 2010 at 8:48 am

that`s really great idea for dinner!


June (Tina) September 9, 2010 at 1:00 am

Wow, saw this on Tastespotting. Brilliant!


Nhi September 9, 2010 at 1:33 am

Simple pasta dishes are just the best, aren't they? The whole meal looks delicious.


foodies at home January 20, 2011 at 5:43 am

Looks so creamy and delish. My tummy would be happy after that meal!


Lemons and Lavender January 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm

foodies at home, thanks for visiting and commenting. This orzo dish is just as you describe.


the actor's diet May 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm

i dunno why i never make orzo – i love it and it's so quick!


Kelekona September 23, 2011 at 8:31 am

Hey, next Tuesday I will be both linking to this article and trying to advertise my blog. I hope you see a spike in traffic.
Kelekona recently posted..Chicken-Hunter’s Stew for OrzoMy Profile


wintersundays March 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Discovered your recipe on Pinterest. Made for family for dinner today. They loved it!! Thanks so much for an easy go to recipe. By the way, I used a mixture of shredded sharp white cheddar and parmesan cheese because it’s what we had on hand. Yummy! Will try Gruyere in the future.


Lori March 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

wintersundays, Thank you for the feedback. That recipe is a winner and while I love Gruyere beyond measure, I think any cheese would be at home in its place. So glad your family liked it!


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