With the creamy texture of risotto but a much faster cook time and an easier method, this Orzotto with peas is a favorite quick family dinner.

Orzotto with peas on plates and in pan.

Orzotto

“Orzotto” is a risotto-like dish made with orzo instead of rice. It cooks more quickly, yet has similar texture and creamy flavor as rice-based risotto. We love Orzo Risotto plain with lemon and Parmesan, and also this easy version that has peas added for protein and extra nutrition.

I make a lot of pasta dishes, and this is a favorite because it feels fancy even though it’s incredibly easy to make in one pot. It’s a great weeknight dinner, easy for 1-year-olds or older babies to eat as a finger food, and simple to dress up and share with company on a holiday, too.

We usually enjoy it as a vegetarian main dish, but you can also serve it alongside dishes including Chicken Tenders, Caesar Salad, Turkey Meatballs, or Fish Sticks.

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Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at what you need to make this pasta recipe so you know what to have on hand and ready to go. Most are pantry staples, so this is a great meal to make when you’re otherwise short on fresh groceries.

Ingredients for orzotto with peas on countertop.
  • Olive oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is one of my favorite cooking oils for lower heat and works great here. You can also use butter if you prefer.
  • Yellow onion: We peel and grate the onion to start the recipe to add flavor, but also have it blended into the rest of the pasta. You can use white onion if you prefer.
  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth: I usually make this recipe with chicken broth because I like the flavor, but it also works well with my Vegetable Broth if you want to have veggies in the mix.
  • Orzo pasta: Orzo pasta is shaped like grains of rice and is quick cooking. It’s widely available in supermarkets in the pasta aisle.
  • Parmesan cheese: I usually use grated Parmesan cheese since I find it has slightly more flavor than shredded, but you can use the type you have or prefer. Pecorino Romano also works and may be a little less expensive.
  • Heavy cream (or half-and-half): Adding a little cream at the end of cooking makes the mixture creamy and rich. You can skip this if you want the recipe to be dairy-free.
  • Frozen peas: Stirring in frozen peas at the end of cooking allows them to cook through without becoming overcooked and adds a bright color and flavor. It also adds protein and fiber.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Below is an overview of how to make this recipe so you know what to expect from the process. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full information, including the times and amounts.

How to make orzotto with peas in grid of images.
  1. Add the olive oil to a large skillet or medium pot over medium heat. Grate the onion.
  2. Add the onion and salt to the skillet, and stir to coat. Cook briefly to soften.
  3. Add the broth and water, cover, and bring to a simmer. Add the orzo and cook until the liquid is almost absorbed and the pasta is tender.
  4. Stir in the Parmesan, cream, butter, and peas; add lemon juice and zest, if using. Serve warm.
Orzotto with peas on kids plate with sides.

How to Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to five days. To reheat, sprinkle with water and cover with a damp paper towel or wax paper. Warm in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until heated through.

You can also heat leftovers and pack into a kids thermos for an easy hot lunch on the go.

Best Tips for Success

  • Season to taste with salt and pepper as you like.
  • Adults may enjoy this topped with crushed red pepper.
  • Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth to make this vegetarian.
  • Use gluten-free orzo if needed and additional broth in place of the cream to make this dairy-free. Many people like nutritional yeast as a nondairy alternative to Parmesan cheese.

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Orzotto with peas on plates and in pan.

Orzotto with Peas

With the creamy texture of risotto but a much faster cook time and an easier method, this Orzotto with peas is a favorite quick family dinner.
5 from 23 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 317kcal
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (peeled and grated)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 8 ounces orzo pasta
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Juice and zest from ½ lemon (optional)
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Instructions

  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet or medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt, and stir to coat. Cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add the broth, cover, and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the orzo and cook for 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the liquid is almost absorbed and the pasta is tender. (It's okay if there is some liquid left when the pasta is tender as it will continue to be absorbed by the pasta.)
  • Stir in the Parmesan, cream, butter, and peas; add lemon juice and zest, if using. Let sit for about 5 minutes to thicken, if needed. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to five days. To reheat, sprinkle with water and cover with a damp paper towel or wax paper. Warm in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until heated through.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper as you like.
  • Adults may enjoy this topped with crushed red pepper.
  • Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth to make this vegetarian.
  • Use gluten-free orzo if needed and additional broth in place of the cream to make this dairy-free. Many people like nutritional yeast as a nondairy alternative to Parmesan cheese.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 317kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 848mg, Potassium: 241mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 544IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 84mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is a staple in our house! My daughter is 20 months and she devoured this the first time we made it. We started adding chicken meatballs to the recipe and it’s so good. My husband and I also enjoy it. One meal for the whole family is a win-win!

  2. 5 stars
    Another recipe that my picky 5 year old with down syndrome loved!!! My daughter doesn’t like textured fiod. I was shocjed that she liked the peas. Since they are small peas that is why she liked it. I have tried to give her regular size peas and she throws them out. Not this time. Easy recipe! Thank you!

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