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Garden Orzo Risotto

No one will believe this rich, creamy dish was prepared in less than 30 minutes! I developed the recipe when my garden tomatoes, zucchini and basil were coming on strong. Using orzo instead of Arborio rice makes the risotto so much easier to prepare. —Cindy Beberman, Orland Park, Illinois
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute zucchini and shallot in oil until almost tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the orzo, broth and milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook and stir for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.
  • Stir in the spinach, tomatoes and basil; cook and stir until spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat; stir in the cheese, salt and pepper.
Nutrition Facts
2/3 cup: 202 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 7mg cholesterol, 429mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 6g fiber), 8g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

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  • sstetzel
    Jul 25, 2016

    cooker69 Orzo is a pasta, you can find it with other pasta shapes in your local market. Risotto is typically an Italian rice dish made from Arborio rice, this recipe is an easy shortcut to a creamy side dish.When you cook with Arborio rice, it's a slower process. The rice is super starchy and you have to let it absorb liquid in stages to keep it from becoming a big clump.Hope that helps!

  • cooker69
    Jul 24, 2016

    so sorry this is not a review, but TOH does not have a question section . What is the differance between arborio rice ,orzo,and risotto?

  • dollydimples
    Jul 14, 2015

    Yum! Very good! I doubled the recipe and used chicken broth instead of vegetable. Creamy and full of flavor. I will definitely make this again!

  • xlsalbums
    Oct 13, 2013

    I will make this recipe again! Easy to make and tastes great!

  • valanddansmith
    Oct 7, 2013

    This was a nice side dish... Very colorful and eye appealing. Also easy to throw together.

  • Kelwoz
    Aug 11, 2013

    No comment left

  • francisca
    Aug 11, 2013

    No comment left

  • Callie22
    Jul 4, 2013

    This was great. No leftovers!

  • cookjules
    May 11, 2013

    This was so amazing. My non-vegetarian family did not have any complaints about it and ate seconds and thirds. I can't wait to make it again. I would add 3 cups of vegetable broth next time, not 2, to make it creamier!

  • TJ41
    Oct 22, 2012

    No comment left