We've had a box of orzo in our pantry for a few months now, so I paired it with some chicken, tomatoes, and burrata for an easy meal last week. This one-pan chicken and orzo with tomatoes and burrata is so good, super easy, and really creamy and cheesy without the need for heavy cream. I toasted the orzo in butter before cooking it, which makes it so flavorful and pushes this whole dish over the top. It's the perfect weeknight meal that feels so much more complex than it really is.
What is orzo?
Orzo is a type of short-grain pasta that's shaped a lot like rice. Like regular pasta, it's made with flour, although you can find gluten-free options if that's your preference. You can boil it in water like regular pasta, or you can toast it in a pan before cooking it in liquid--the former is easier, but the latter gives it a really delicious toasted flavor. We use the toasting method in this recipe.
Here's what you need for this chicken and orzo recipe.
This chicken and orzo uses a few basic ingredients (well, mostly. Sometimes burrata can be hard to find, but we have some tips).
- Chicken breasts or thighs. We used chicken breast because that's what we had on hand, but thighs would be delicious too.
- Chicken broth
- Cherry or grape tomatoes
- Parmesan cheese
- Burrata cheese. Burrata is a lot like fresh mozzarella, but it has a creamy, gooey inside. It can be kind of hard to find, but it's usually in the fancy cheese section of the grocery store in a round tub (like what sour cream or cottage cheese comes in). Trader Joe's almost always has it, and that's where we usually get ours. If you can't find burrata, fresh mozzarella would be great in this dish too.
And the basics: olive oil, butter, minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper.
Here's how we make this chicken and orzo with tomatoes and burrata.
This chicken and orzo is so easy and comes together in a few steps.
- Prepare the chicken.
Butterfly and halve each of your chicken breasts to reduce the thickness and divide into four portions. Sprinkle both sides of each portion with salt and black pepper.
- Cook the chicken.
Add olive oil and butter to a cast-iron or non-stick pan over medium-high heat (we prefer cast-iron for the great sear). Once the butter is melted, add the chicken breasts and cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and set it aside.
- Toast the orzo.
Turn the heat down to medium. Add the orzo to the pan and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until it is golden brown and appears toasted. Don't let it sit for too long or it will burn.
- Cook the orzo and tomatoes.
Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and spices. Let the broth come to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or the orzo is cooked through (it should be al dente like normal pasta). There should still be a little bit of liquid left in the pan, like in the picture below.
- Finish it up.
Add the parmesan cheese to the pan and stir until melted and combined. Turn the heat to low and add the chicken back to the pan. Break the burrata up over the top of the chicken, then cover the pan and allow the cheese to melt a bit, a couple of minutes. Top with freshly chopped basil, if desired.
One-Pan Chicken and Orzo with Tomatoes and Burrata: FAQs
You can! To make this gluten free, you can replace the orzo with rice or use gluten-free orzo. If you use rice, rinse it in water before adding it to the pan, and use a 2-1 rice to liquid ratio.
Burrata can be kind of hard to find, but it's usually in the fancy cheese section of the grocery store in a round tub (like what sour cream or cottage cheese comes in). Trader Joe's almost always has it, and that's where we usually get ours. If you can't find burrata, fresh mozzarella would be great in this dish too.
Of course! You may have to adjust the cooking time, depending on the size of your thighs. Just make sure the internal temperature has reached 165°F before removing the chicken from the pan.