This parmesan orzo is our all-time favorite side dish! It is so incredibly versatile. It goes with everything in all seasons. Serve alongside chicken, fish, steak, beans or your favorite vegetarian dish.

Or alternatively titled, The Side Dish For Everything! 

parmesan herb orzo

Seriously. You will absolutely LOVE this parmesan orzo. It’s a side dish that never gets old and can be served with almost any dish. During any season! At any meal!

Tell me that’s not the best. 

orzo pasta in a measuring cup

So! This was the most made side dish in our house in 2021. It’s no secret that we LOVE orzo, but cooking it this way as a side dish is how we love it most. Yes I love all my fancy orzo salads for meals. They take longer though and requre a few steps. 

cooked orzo in a pot with parmesan cheese

This is simple. This is your Monday night side dish to go with everything – chicken, steak, salmon or even a vegetarian dish. It holds up against meatloaf or roasted shrimp. It’s really delicious, classic and traditional and something everyone in our family loves.

I love to use fresh herbs, but considering it’s the dead of winter right now, you can stir in a few dried herbs instead. Or you can forgo the herbs until your garden is flourishing this summer and just keep it to the parmesan cheese for now. No one will complain! 

cooked orzo in a pot with fresh herbs

It’s a little different than the traditional orzo. 

I cook this orzo like rice! I don’t boil it and then drain. Instead, I use a chicken or vegetable stock and simmer until it absorbs the liquid. Add lots of herbs, lots of parm and boom, it’s done.

The other thing that I love is toasting the orzo in butter! I toast it like I do with arborio rice for risotto. This gives it a depth of flavor that is wonderful. If you look closely at my photos, you may even see some toasted orzo bits. We love it! 

parmesan herb orzo close up

It’s cheesy and chewy and a little toasty and delish.

parmesan herb orzo in a pot

Plus, you can have it made in 25 minutes! And the leftovers are still super good when reheated.

parmesan herb orzo

Need a few ideas to serve with this parmesan orzo? WELL! I am sharing this delicious weeknight skillet chicken pictured below later this week, but for now, here are a few suggestions: 

Lemon brown butter salmon

Seared filet

Pork milanese

Maple sheet pan smoked sausage 

French onion meatballs

Chicken romano meatballs

Sweet potato kale salad

The orzo holds up so well along all of these main and it’s a welcomed cozy side dish that tastes incredible!

parmesan herb orzo with skillet chicken

Parmesan Orzo

Parmesan Herb Orzo

This parmesan orzo is our all-time favorite side dish! It is so incredibly versatile. It goes with everything in all seasons. Serve alongside chicken, fish, steak, beans or your favorite vegetarian dish.
5 from 42 votes
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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 16 ounces orzo
  • 32 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped herbs, or 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs (basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano)

Instructions 

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the orzo and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, so the orzo toasts. Pour in the stock along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice so the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom, until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in the parmesan cheese and the herbs. Serve!
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parmesan herb orzo

Chewy cheesy goodness.