Tastes just like risotto…. except it’s far quicker to make! Also known as Orzo, this risoni recipe comes with juicy chicken, a creamy parmesan sauce and plenty of hidden vegetables, so it’s a quick one pot recipe the kids are sure to love. (And grown ups love it too!)
Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Risoni (Orzo)
This is a quick dinner recipe that will tick all your boxes:
fast and easy to make – 10 minute cook!
made with everyday pantry staples
highly customisable – use whatever vegetables and proteins you want
complete meal – protein, vegetables, carbs, dairy!
the sort of food that’s universally appealing, one that kids and adults enjoy!
Is there a difference between Orzo and Risoni?
Nope, they’re the same thing! Tiny rice shaped pasta that’s widely available nowadays, it’s called risoni here in Australia but most countries in the world call it orzo.
A quick Risoni recipe that’s a complete dinner made in one pot!
How to make it
If you’re wondering how on earth this risoni recipe can be cooked so quickly, here’s why – risoni / orzo takes a mere 8 minutes to cook from start to finish.
So we only have it on the stove for 7 minutes, then the tiny rice-like grains keep cooking while you’re faffing around getting bowls out, serving it up, sprinkling on parmesan and you’re yelling for everyone to get to the table for dinner.
What you need
And here’s what you need for this Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Risoni. There’s plenty of substitution and customisation options – see below.
LOADS of substitution options!
Loads and loads… even the risoni!
- Risoni / orzo – sub with other very small pasta (like kiddie alphabet, tiny macaroni)
- Chicken – any protein, or skip it
- Frozen veg – I use this for convenience, sub with any diced vegetables
- Baby Spinach – I throw in a couple of handles to get extra nutrition in. Use any wilt-able veggies (even the leafy end of Asian greens!) or add more veggies
- Parmesan – any grated cheese!
- Flour – any type of flour (white, brown, self raising, cake flour)
- Milk – dairy or non dairy! Or a mix of cream and water, or evaporated milk
- Chicken stock (broth) – stock cube with water. In emergencies, use water and lots more cheese!
- Onion – leeks, extra garlic, geen onion, shallots
- Garlic – garlic powder, extra onion
This recipe makes enough for 4 to 5. Leftovers will keep for a few days – but note that leftover pasta is never quite as saucy. Or try making Muffin Tin Spaghetti Nests with the leftovers which kids absolutely adore! ~ Nagi x
More risoni / orzo recipes
I love risoni because it’s so quick to cook – making it super handy for quick dinners!
- One Pot Italian Chicken Orzo / Risoni Pasta – cosy, saucy one pot chicken and risoni dinner
- Orzo / Risoni Bolognaise – one pot bolognese pasta dish!
- Greek Lemon Orzo Salad – a bright fresh pasta salad loaded with Greek flavours
- Creamy Salmon Risoni / Orzo (15 Minute Meal) – tastes like risotto, except MUCH faster to make!
- Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Orzo (Risoni) (One Pot) – tastes like a creamy mushroom risotto
- Baked Greek Chicken Orzo (Risoni) – Greek chicken AND orzo made in one pot!
- Pea, Zucchini and Pesto Orzo / Risoni – a wonderful quick side dish
Watch how to make it
One Pot Chicken, Vegetable & Parmesan Orzo (Risoni)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves (, minced)
- 1/2 onion (, diced)
- 250g / 8oz chicken thigh or breast (, cut into bite size pieces)
- 2 1/2 cups frozen diced vegetables ((carrots, peas, corn, capsicum/peppers, anything!))
- 1 1/2 cups orzo / risoni ((Note 1))
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour
- 2 1/4 cups (565 ml) milk (, any fat %)
- 2 cups (500 ml) chicken or vegetable stock / broth ((low sodium))
- 3 cups baby spinach ((packed))
- 3/4 cup (75g) parmesan ((grated))
- Salt and pepper to taste
- More parmesan
- Parsley or chives, if desired
Heat oil in a large pan over high heat. Make sure the pan is reasonably deep – around 5cm / 2.5″ or more. Otherwise, use a large pot.
Add garlic and onion, cook for 1 minute.
Add chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper then cook for 2 minutes until cooked on the outside (raw inside).
Add frozen vegetables (still frozen ok) and flour, stir until flour is incorporated.
Add risoni/orzo, stock and milk, then stir well.
Bring to simmer then adjust heat so it’s bubbling gently (see video). Cook for 7 minutes (no lid), stirring every now and then, until risoni is almost tender (still quite soupy at this stage).
Add parmesan and spinach, stir through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Consistency should be like a loose risotto (it absorbs liquid and thickens quite quickly when serving), nice and creamy.
Serve, garnished with parsley and more parmesan if desired!
** Loads of substitutions and customisation options, see in post **
1. Risoni/orzo is a rice shaped pasta. Brilliant for quick meals because it cooks in about 8 minutes! 7 minutes on the stove, then while it’s being finished off.
2. Frozen veg – Feel free to switch the frozen veg with fresh. I used frozen for convenience because this is a handy super quick meal.
3. Leftovers are perfect to make Muffin Tin Spaghetti Nests.
4. Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 very big servings!
Originally published June 2014. Updated June 2019 with fresh new photos, new writing, new video added and most importantly, Life of Dozer section added!
Life of Dozer
Sunny Tuesdays call for lazy working lunches out by the water…. (this is at The Boat Shed in Palm Beach, Sydney . Not too far from where I live!)