This creamy orzo pasta it’s one of those hot recipes you’ll come back to when you’re craving an easy, creamy pasta dish that’s ready in less than an hour. The real beauty of this recipe is that we mix cottage cheese with sauteed garlic tomatoes to make a creamy sauce that is out of this world.
Whether you need a new recipe for busy weeknights or special occasions, or you’re just plain hungry, this orzo pasta is sure to satisfy. What makes this orzo pasta recipe unique? It’s a vegetable pasta recipe made with cherry tomatoes and zucchini. Oh, and we topped it with whipped cream for extra protein!
The whole team seriously loved this pasta so much. We had fun filming the video and everything went back for seconds, it’s so delicious.
What’s in Creamy Orzo Pasta?
- Tomatoes: These sweet, juicy tomatoes add a burst of flavor and color to the dish. They pair perfectly with the creamy sauce and add a nice texture.
- cottage cheese: When mixed with garlic and tomatoes, it creates a rich, creamy marinara sauce without the added calories of heavy cream.
- Tomato paste: This mixes right into the orzo, so you’ll want to make sure it’s evenly distributed. It adds a deeper tomato flavor and helps thicken the sauce.
- Orzo Pasta: this small rice-shaped dumpling is perfect for enjoying all the wonderful flavors of the dish.
- Pumpkin: We love the way the zucchini pieces add some crunch and fresh flavor to the creamy pasta.
- Fresh basil: this herb gives the recipe its characteristic Italian flavor. We recommend using fresh basil.
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Variations and Substitutions
This tomato orzo recipe is like a blank canvas that you can adjust to your liking.
- Change the cheese: For example, if you prefer to use cream cheese or ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese, go for it! Just note that the texture and taste will vary slightly. You can also add or swap out vegetables like peppers, spinach or mushrooms for extra flavor.
- Make it vegetarian: If you want to make this dish vegetarian, just use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Instead, if you want to add some protein, try adding cooked chicken or shrimp to the dish to make it a complete dish.
- Make it: Finally, if you’re not a fan of basil, feel free to experiment with other herbs like rosemary or thyme. You could also add them in addition to basil for a more herbaceous dish. Anything is fair game, really!
Tips for Creamy Orzo Pasta
- To make this recipe even faster, you can use pre-cooked orzo. Just be sure to reduce the cooking time accordingly.
- Don’t skip the step of mixing in the cottage cheese, garlic and tomato. This is what gives the dish its creamy texture.
- When mixing in step #3, be sure to mix the sauce until it is light and almost frothy. This will ensure it doesn’t curdle.
Storage instructions + freezer
Store leftover creamy orzo pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
We do not recommend freezing this recipe as it is custard based and will not retain the same texture or taste.
This creamy orzo pasta with blended cottage cheese would pair wonderfully with meat dishes like our Sirloin Roast, Sirloin Steak or Easy Whole Roast Chicken.
To balance out the savory flavors, add this Apple Burrata Salad or Arugula Salad on the side.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ¼ white onion minced meat
- 5 cloves garlic minced meat
- 1 pint Cherry tomatoes by half
- 1 cup Cottage cheese with 2% or whole fat
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt separated
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1.25 cups orzo pasta
- 1 medium zucchini diced (~2 cups)
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil;
- Optional red pepper flakes
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil becomes fragrant, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, the onions should be translucent.
Add the paprika, 1.5 teaspoons of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the tomato mixture to a blender. Add the cottage cheese and mix on high speed for 2-3 minutes. The sauce should be light and the cheese should be fully incorporated. Set aside.
Then add the remaining olive oil to the pan. When the oil is fragrant, add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Add the orzo to the pan to toast for about 2 minutes.
Add the zucchini, remaining salt and chicken stock to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Place the lid on top and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes. The orzo should be fully cooked and soft.
Remove from the fire. Transfer the cottage cheese sauce to the pan and stir to combine. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
To serve, top with fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes.
Tips & Notes
- Make this dish vegetarian by using vegetable stock
- Rosemary or thyme could be used in this recipe in place of or in addition to basil.
- When mixing in step #3, be sure to mix the sauce until it is light and almost frothy.
- This will ensure it doesn’t curdle.
Calories: 366kcal Carbohydrates: 46G Protein: 15G Fat: 14G Fiber: 3G Sugar: 8G
Photo: The photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin of The Edible Perspective.