Creamy Orzo

Creamy Orzo is a simple orzo pasta with tomatoes and peas. It is kid friendly and can be a side dish or a main meal. Simple flavors and fast!

Creamy Orzo
Creamy Orzo

I received Everyday Pasta by Giada De Lauretiis from my MIL.  I have yet to find a disappointing recipe of Giada’s!  I really love orzo pasta, like in this Orzo with Parmesan and Basil. The taste and texture of this dish are just great.  I try to avoid using heavy cream except in desserts but decided to try it the first time.  It was a little too creamy for my taste, so I’ve included suggestions below on how to lighten it up a bit.

When I was shopping for the ingredients, I noticed “petite peas” in the freezer case.  I tend to like anything ‘mini,’ so of course I opted for them, and I loved their smaller size and sweeter taste.  It wasn’t until several days later that I picked up a copy of Cooks Illustrated my mom had given me and noticed an article on petite peas, also called petit pois or baby sweet peas, and how their taste testers found them to be sweeter and less starchy than regular-sized peas. I found this quite amusing and will be using them from now on.  

Gluten Free Creamy Orzo

Use gluten free orzo in place of traditional to make this an entirely gluten free side dish.

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Baked Ziti Sorrentino
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Creamy Orzo

Creamy Orzo

Creamy Orzo is a simple orzo pasta with tomatoes and peas. It is kid friendly and can be a side dish or a main meal. Simple flavors and fast!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 or more


  • 1 pound orzo pasta (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot (finely chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 14.5 ounces canned petit cut diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas (regular or petite) (thawed)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Bring a large, heavy saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas. Add the orzo and toss to coat.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough of the reserved pasta water to create a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


I prefer Barilla brand for orzo because the ‘grains’ of pasta are small.     
For a lighter version, you could try replacing some or all of the heavy cream with fat-free half-and-half, milk, or a mixture of cottage cheese and milk, as used in this Creamy Pumpkin Penne.
Source:  Adapted from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword gluten free, Italian, Pasta, side dish, vegetarian

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