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Creamy Orzo with Chicken and Asparagus

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One pan creamy orzo with chicken and asparagus is an easy skillet dinner you'll love to make even on a busy weeknight. Cozy comfort food loaded with fresh veggies and tender chunks of chicken is still elegant enough for company.

A skillet is filled with creamy orzo with chicken chunks, asparagus spears, and cherry tomatoes.

This is definitely the time of year for cozy comfort food. When it is chilly outside, one of my favorite dishes includes pasta with a creamy sauce but I need to keep things easy on busy nights.

This creamy orzo with chicken and asparagus is cooked all in the same skillet and can be finished in under 20 minutes with a few meal prep tips.

The chicken is perfectly seasoned, the orzo is tender and creamy, and I love the burst of flavor from the fresh asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

A one pot skillet dinner recipe is such a fantastic choice for a busy weeknight but I think this is the best creamy orzo with chicken recipe because:

  1. Cozy Comfort Food: That rich and creamy sauce on the tender orzo is sooooo delicious. Perfectly seasoned and tender chicken chunks with fresh vegetables add tons of flavor.
  2. Make Your Own Meal Kit: You could cook this recipe from scratch in under 30 minutes but if you have time in the days ahead to prep your own meal kit, you can assemble the entire meal in probably less than 18 minutes. Be sure to see my meal prep tips below.
  3. Easy to Customize: Change the seasoning on the chicken, swap broccoli for the asparagus, add a handful of baby spinach and let it wilt. There are so many ways to make this dish unique for your family. Be sure to check out my variation suggestions below, too.

Ingredients

The ingredients to make the creamy orzo with chicken are on the counter.

This easy skillet recipe only needs a handful of ingredients:

  • Chicken: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You could use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenderloins if you prefer.
  • Orzo Pasta: This is a dried pasta in a rice-like shape. Do not try to substitute another pasta shape, it will not cook as quickly as the orzo does.
  • Fresh Asparagus
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Minced Garlic
  • Chicken Stock
  • Heavy Cream: There's only 1/2 cup of cream in this recipe and it gives the dish such a wonderful texture and flavor. You could substitute fat free half and half if you needed.
  • Dried Italian Herb Blend: You can substitute oregano if you don't have a blend on hand.
  • Grated Parmesan: This is optional and used just for serving.

Season and Brown the Chicken

No matter which cut of chicken you choose to use, start by slicing it thinly like you would for a stir-fry.

I cut my chicken breasts in half lengthwise and then slice them thin on the diagonal.

Place the chicken in a clean bowl and sprinkle the dried seasoning, salt, and pepper over the top. Toss with a fork to coat the chicken and set aside.

The chicken has been sliced into thin stir-fry sized pieces and seasoned in a bowl.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat.

Once the oil has warmed through, brown the chicken in a single layer for 3 minutes on both sides.

Do not overcook the chicken at this point. It is ok if it is slightly underdone because it will finish cooking in the skillet at the end.

In the meantime, transfer the browned chicken to a clean plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.

The chicken has cooked in the skillet and will now be transferred to a clean plate while the pasta cooks.

How to Cook the Skillet Dinner

To finish the dinner prep, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to the empty skillet.

Add the orzo, minced garlic, and asparagus chunks to the pan and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes or until the pasta is coated in oil and the dish is very fragrant.

Pour the chicken stock into the skillet and stir. Use the liquid to scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.

The orzo will begin to absorb the chicken stock and cook in about 5 minutes.

The step by step photo collage shows how to cook the orzo, build the cream sauce, and add the chicken back to the skillet.

Once the orzo is nice and tender, add the sliced cherry tomatoes and heavy cream to the skillet and stir.

Bring the mixture to a nice bubble and then add the chicken back to the pan and stir it in.

Let the chicken finish cooking through before serving.

Make Ahead Tips

This creamy orzo with chicken is at its best when served fresh right after cooking it.

That said, we did have leftovers and I thought they reheated quite well in the microwave the next day.

The vegetables will be much softer and the pasta will absorb more sauce as it sits overnight, but it was still quite delicious.

How to Make it a Meal Kit

If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, I'd suggest prepping a dinner kit for yourself instead.

Prep the Chicken:
You could slice and season the chicken and package it in a plastic baggie or container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. If you freeze the chicken, let it thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

Prep the Veggies:

  • Slice the asparagus and package it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Pre-slice the cherry tomatoes and keep them separate from the asparagus in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Then when it is time to cook, you just need to assemble the dinner which should take less than 20 minutes.

Variations

This creamy orzo is so delicious as is, but there are some simple ways to tweak the recipe for your family:

Creamy Orzo with Chicken and Broccoli: Swap broccoli florets for the asparagus.

Creamy Orzo with Baby Spinach: Swap the asaparagus for baby spinach. Wait to add it until you return the chicken to the pan and let the spinach wilt right into the cream sauce.

Spicy Chicken with Creamy Orzo: Use a spicier seasoning blend like Cajun, Creole, or even a blackening seasoning to add a bit of kick to the dish.

Lemony Orzo with Chicken: Add some fresh lemon zest and squeeze the juice from one whole fresh lemon to the cream sauce. A splash of white wine wouldn't hurt either!

Vegetarian Creamy Orzo: Skip the chicken altogether. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. You could also add fresh broccoli florets and bell peppers for more bulk.

Serving Suggestions

The skillet is filled with orzo, chunks of chicken, asparagus and cherry tomatoes, all in a rich and creamy sauce.

I love easy skillet recipes like this creamy orzo with chicken because our entire dinner is ready all at once.

This has all the basic pieces: a protein, a starch, and the vegetables all in one serving.

But to round out your meal a little, you could serve this with a piece of garlic bread and a side garden salad.

If you're making the dish for company and want an elegant appetizer to serve before the meal, try my Italian bruschetta al pomodoro or a simple caprese salad with balsamic drizzle.

More Easy Skillet Recipes

If you love one pot dinner recipes like I do, you won't want to miss these other delicious skillet dinners:

๐Ÿ“– Recipe

A skillet is filled with creamy orzo with chicken chunks, asparagus spears, and cherry tomatoes.

Creamy Orzo with Chicken and Asparagus

5 from 1 vote
Tender chunks of chicken nestled in a bed of creamy orzo with fresh asparagus and cherry tomatoes make this easy skillet dinner a perfect pick for a busy night. Everything cooks in just one pan and dinner is ready to be served in under 30 minutes.
TOTAL TIME 30 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 20 minutes
YIELD 6 servings

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced thinly crosswise
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Creamy Orzo

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 cup chopped fresh asparagus about half a bunch, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Grated parmesan for serving

Instructions

  • Slice the chicken breasts into stir fry strips. Sprinkle the meat with the dried seasoning and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, add the olive oil over medium-high heat. Spread the chicken in an even layer in the pan and brown for about 3 minutes without disturbing. Turn the chicken pieces over and cook for another 3 minutes. The chicken does not need to cook completely through because it will finish in the skillet at the end but it should have nice golden brown edges. Transfer the browned chicken to a clean plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the empty skillet. Add the orzo, minced garlic, and asparagus chunks to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant and the pasta has been completely coated in the olive oil.
  • Add the chicken stock to the skillet and bring it to a boil. Be sure to stir the orzo so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the broth is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the orzo, continuing to stir a bit, for 5 minutes or until it is cooked through. The pasta will absorb most of the chicken stock.
  • Add the sliced cherry tomatoes and heavy cream to the orzo and stir. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Spoon the chicken back into the skillet and stir it in. Let it warm through and complete cooking for a minute or two before serving.
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The photo collage shows the finished creamy orzo next to a photo of the skillet filled with heavy cream, cherry tomatoes, asparagus spears, and chicken stock.

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