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Orzo with Brown Butter and Parmesan


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 112

This little black dress of a side dish pairs with practically anything—grilled meat, roasted chicken, sautéed vegetables. Like rice pilaf, the orzo is browned in butter before broth is added, which gives it a rich, nutty flavor.

  • 1-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Thinly sliced fresh chives (optional)

In a 1- to 2-quart saucepan, bring the chicken broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer over medium-high heat.

In a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns goldenbrown and smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo and stir with a wooden spoon to coat well. Cook until the orzo just begins to turn a light golden color, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the wine and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the simmering broth mixture, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the orzo is just tender, about 12 minutes; the mixture may still be wet but will set up.

Stir the orzo, season to taste with salt and a generous amount of pepper, and mix in the Parmigiano. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Add the chives (if using) and serve.


Vary the flavor by adding basil and toasted pine nuts, sautéed mushrooms and thyme, or peas, mint, and a squeeze of lemon.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 250, Fat (kcal): 8, Fat Calories (g): 70, Saturated Fat (g): 4.5, Protein (g): 9, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2, Carbohydrates (mg): 33, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 0, Sodium (g): 210, Cholesterol (g): 15, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I've been making this for years. Delicious! You can boost the flavour with all sorts of additions if you like, but the browning of the butter is what puts it over the top.

Easy and delicious. We added garlic.

excellent taste and very easy to make.

Made this several times as written and liked it a lot. Then I tried adding 2 cloves of minced garlic near the end of browning the orzo, before the wine and it was even better!

This was really outstanding! It comes together nicely and browning the orzo in the butter and then adding the wine adds amazing depth of flavour. I will definitely be making this again, plus there's wine leftover to go with the meal which is always a bonus!

Easy to make and delicious. A good base to build off of. Next time I'll try adding garlic and mushrooms.

Fantastic recipe! This is my go to recipe when I am entertaining. So simple and yet full of flavour. Everyone asks for the recipe. Wonderful!

Excellent choice for a side dish with chicken.

Yummy and easy! I have made this for weeknight meals as well as for company. It is always a big hit. I do double the recipe if serving 4-6 people.

I thought this was fabulous. Although it says it makes 4 portions, and it did, they were not large portions and there wasn't any leftovers at all. I would double the recipe next time. I did use garlic for extra punch though and omitted the chives because I didn't have any on hand.

Fast and easy to make. Next time I think I will add some garlic to boost the flavor.

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