Recipes > Lemon Parmesan Orzo

Lemon Parmesan Orzo


Orzo tossed with Italian parsley, lemon and Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Views: 72,028
  • Success Rating: 95% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Lemon Parmesan Orzo

Making the Lemon Parmesan Orzo
  • sea salt (for the cooking water)
  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup green onions (or chives)
  • 1/8 cup mint
  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt (1 tsp per liter/quart of water). Add the orzo and cook for 12 to 15 minutes (or according to the package).

While the orzo cooks, finely chop the parsley, mint and green onions. Grate the parmesan and zest the lemon.

When the orzo is ready, strain and add the butter to the hot pot. Add the orzo back to pot, and add the parsley, mint, green onions, parmesan, lemon zest, and the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix and serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

Many people have never heard of orzo but it is guaranteed to please rice lovers and pasta lovers alike. The secret is in the fresh lemon zest and the real Parmigiano Reggiano. Basically the fresher the ingredients the better the end result!

Note: Orzo is not a variety of rice, although it looks like it might be given its rice-like shape. It is actually a type of pasta that can be found in most stores and Italian markets. This recipe makes a delicious hot side or it can be served as a yummy cold salad. If making this dish as a cold salad, replace the butter with olive oil.


  • Jenny G
    Jenny G
    I've made this twice. Great dish. The only advice I have is that when I made it the first time I didn't buy Parmigiano Reggiano. Instead I used a good quality grated parmesan cheese thinking that it would be the same. Not at all. I mean everyone we had over loved it but having first hand experience with Dawn's I knew what a difference using real Parmigiano Reggiano makes. If I've taught myself anything using Rouxbe it's that there never is a substitution for quality. Good luck!
  • Bobi W
    Bobi W
    So easy to make... and the combination of herbs, zest and parmesan are perfectly balanced, creating a great orzo dish! I served it with the roast chicken, also from Rouxbe. It was a great combination, but this orzo would be a great side for many other dishes as well.
  • Jade B
    Jade B
    This is fabulous. All the fresh herbs and spices with the parmezan and lemon zest made it so tasty but not over powering. It's almost a palette cleanser perfect for next to a rich chicken or meat dish. Also could work great with fish. You could have it by itself and make a few other salads for a luncheon. I made a greek salad as well when I made this with the beautiful greek chicken. It was a european extravnaganza!
  • Ckrissie F
    Ckrissie F
    It's quite simple to make, however I thought it wasn't as tasty as I had imagined when I ate it warm. Cold is the way to go for this dish. It's a lovely salad. I added lemon juice and a touch of sun dried tomatoes, I loved it.
  • Sherry G
    Sherry G
    I have made this dish 3 times so far and I absolutely love it! The flavours are so incredible together! And yes, you must use the real deal, the Parmigiano Reggiano, or you will end up with a dish that is nothing at all like what it is supposed to taste like. This one was so light and flavourful that my Mother In Law took some home afterwards! Now THAT is a compliment :D Sherry
  • Michelle L
    Michelle L
    I had my 15 year old help with this one - her father got her hooked on the box version of Mac and Cheese (is that sacrilegious to even cop to that on this site) when she was younger and it was the first thing she learned how to make. This is making her a convert to a healthier way of cooking. I had her grating the parmigiano cheese (we couldn't find the Parmigiano Reggiano in Haines Alaska so we used the more common brand sold - the Friago one). She said it needed more lemon but it was like adult style mac and cheese. I took this as the ultimate compliment from her. This guy Keith Ferrazi wrote a book on networking called "never eat alone" - I think Rouxbe could have a whole line of management courses called - "never cook alone." With the way their recipes are set up, it's very easy to enroll other people in helping you cook in the kitchen.
  • Bob W
    Bob W
    Orzo as a side dish to grilled lamb is fantastic. Here is a simple orzo variation. Just add olive oil, grated (soft/creamy) feta cheese and chopped Italian parsley to cooked orzo for a comforting, easy and delicious side dish.
  • Brian F
    Brian F
    I paired this with the Chicken Saltimbocca as suggested and the clean flavor of the orzo paired wonderfully with the saltiness of the chicken. My wife and I had it cold the next day for lunch and it was just as delicious! This is dish is excellent and so easy to prepare!
  • Trish F
    Trish F
    Love this recipe I made it with the asian trout as well. This was something the whole family loved. I even made it again the following week and made extras so we could have some for left overs (which we at cold for lunch and was just as good).My ten year old who normally is a picky eater who ends up usually just eating peanut butter sandwich has even asked me to make it once more.
  • Jody S
    Jody S
    I making it again right now. I couldn't find orzo anywhere, but I used pasta that was spaghetti-shaped but only about 2mm long and thinner, and it was fantastic. I also didn't have the mint the first time and it was still good. I added some lemon juice too.It just bursts with flavor.
  • Carol P
    Carol P
    This is a simple and delicious dish that accommodates substitutions easily, but I agree with others that you really want to use Parmigiano-Reggiano. I didn't have any mint, but did have a nice sprig of anise hyssop (which is in the mint family) so I used that and tossed in the tiny purple flowers as well which made the dish beautiful. It made a great dinner served with grilled chicken, garlic bread, and a green salad.
  • Amy T
    Amy T
    this is such a good dish. i find it very tasty with lots of lemon zest.
  • Jennifer K
    Jennifer K
    This was such an easy dish. Love putting it together in 12 minutes flat! I also added zest from a whole lemon, along with the juice from half the lemon. This really took it up a notch.
  • Brenda H
    Brenda H
    hi, i tried to make this dish the other night. it turned out good, but it seemed very greasy. from using the butter and oil from what i can figure. i put the butter in the hot pan like it said. any ideas?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Without asking you more questions it is hard for me to know exactly what could have went wrong (if anything did). Not sure what might have happened if you only used 2 Tbsp of butter and then 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Perhaps next time you might just want to cut down a bit on them. Then again perhaps the particular cheese you used was just a bit greasy? I say give it another whirl and start adding the potentially greasy ingredients in smaller increments. Hope this helps. Cheers!
  • Alexis D
    Alexis D
    Hi! Would you please traslate to spanish Orso and lemon sezt? Thank you very much! Alexis
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    If you go to Google Translate (there are also many other sites that translate) you can just type in "orzo, lemon zest" and you will find your answer - orzo in Spanish is "orzo' and lemon zest is "la ralladura de limón". Cheers!
  • Andrew A
    Andrew A
    ...because she said she couldn't stop eating this wonderful dish. When my children (10 and 13) get back from camp, I'm going to make it for them. :-)
  • Jon G
    Jon G
    fantastically balanced and fresh exactly as written.

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