Orzo Risotto with Chicken and Spring Vegetables


Well, sort of. Technically it’s next week. But if you could sit next to me and witness this deafening performance of A CHORUS LINE being put on by 37,000 robins on my back porch at 6am, you’d agree. Spring is up in this piece.


I’ve never said “up in this piece” before. It kind of tickled.


OH HOW I LOVE THE SPRING. It’s time for fresh starts! It’s time to change filters, clean gutters, break out the chacos, prep garden beds, hunt for morel mushrooms, learn how to manage my crush on Phillip Phillips on American Idol. Seriously, someone needs to make him stop being so delicious. I want to plant him in my garden right in with the tomatoes. Naked.




I will now attempt to distract you by talking about spring food and this springy orzo risotto thingy that I made with chicken and lemon and asparagus and scallions.

Looook at it.


And see, I made it like a risotto, where you ladle the broth into the orzo little by little, to creamy it up. I mainly did it this way because I wanted to pour a cup, I MEAN 1/4th a cup of vermouth into it. Spring’s orders!


But if you want to skip the booze (uh, why again?) and skip the ladling, you can always just boil up the orzo in some stock or water and toss it with the seared chicken and veggies! Ner prerblerm.


This is going to rock your mouth straight off like a ping pong ball into the spring heavens.

Oh! ROCKIN’ ROBIN. Like on my back porch?


You’re still thinking about tomato plant Phillip, aren’t you? Me too.

Orzo Risotto with Chicken and Spring Vegetables:

What it took for 2 (pretty large servings):

* 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 6 chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat and cut into small chunks
* 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 cup orzo
* 1/4 cup vermouth or dry white wine
* 3 cups chicken stock
* 1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices
* 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
* 3 scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
* 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 1 Tbs. butter (or olive oil)
* 1 lemon
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring the chicken stock to a light simmer in a small sauce pan. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to an ice bath, stopping the cooking.

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a medium skillet over medium high. Add the chicken, toss in a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the other Tbs. of oil to the skillet. Add the onion and garlic, saute 3 minutes. Add the orzo and “toast” for about a minute. Add the vermouth or wine and cook until mostly absorbed, 2 minutes.

At this point you’ll ladle the broth into the orzo, one ladle at the time, until the orzo has absorbed the liquid and become nice and creamy. And dreamy. This takes about 15 minutes.

Add the asparagus, red bell pepper and scallions to the orzo. Toss to combine. Add the chicken back to the mixture. Take off the heat and add the butter (or oil) and cheese. Add about a Tbs. of lemon zest to the dish, along with a few good squeezes of lemon juice. Toss to combine. Taste it. Salt it good.

Serve risotto garnished with more lemon and parmesan cheese. And fresh basil. And Phillip Phillips.


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35 Responses to Orzo Risotto with Chicken and Spring Vegetables

  1. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray March 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm #
    This looks perfect, Bev! I am SO happy spring is finally here...although here in Michigan, winter never really made its appearance...at least not with its usual fierceness. Not complaining!
  2. Villy @ For the love of Feeding March 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm #
    Whatever the recipe may be, your writing is so entertaining! :)
  3. Cookbook Queen March 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm #
    ...that awkward moment when you find out that a fellow blogger from Arkansas is trying to steal your American Idol man....sigh. I claimed him like, a LONG time ago...so....... I may consider sharing him if you bring me some of this for dinner!!
  4. Kathryn March 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm #
    Oh lots of lovely spring like flavours, delicious!
  5. Blog is the New Black March 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm #
    Sparing is heaaa is right! Looks terrific!
  6. Julie @ Table for Two March 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm #
    this looks so creamy and springy and I love every bit of this!!! I'm so happy spring is amongst us :)
  7. Katie March 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm #
    Bev, this looks amazing. I hardly ever cook with orzo and need to make an effort to cook with it more often.
  8. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray March 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm #
    Um, yum. Bring on the spring!!
  9. Margarita March 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm #
    Love all the colors playing in this dish... orzo is lovely and all these veggies and chicken pieces in this dish, yum!
  10. Becky at Vintage Mixer March 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm #
    This dish looks like one I would love!
  11. DessertForTwo March 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm #
    I want ping pongs of flavor bouncing off my mouth! Must print recipe!
  12. Cookin' Canuck March 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm #
    Oh yes, Phillip Phillips gets our vote! Probably because we are huge Dave Matthews fan and he has that vibe. Love your spring-y salad!
  13. Maryann Dubbs March 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm #
    Wow, can't wait to make this...looks delicious and I can just smell "Spring."
  14. Cassie March 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm #
    Bring on the spring veggies! We have had some awesome asparagus already this year. Risotto is my favorite, too!
  15. Katie March 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm #
    Lucky for you, it's sunny here today. If the snow was falling, I would have slapped my computer screen for you being so yippity skippity over Spring. But since it IS sunny... WAHOO SPRING IS HERE!!! Shovel those fresh veggies into my mouth, please!
  16. Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out March 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm #
    Holy balls. I am loving this! It is so perfectly springy! I am going to have to do this or something like it STAT.
  17. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen March 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm #
    Whoaa, this looks crazy delicious! Sooo excited for springtime!
  18. Deanna B. March 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm #
    I don't care if spring isn't technically till next week. ITS HERE!!! How do I know? I took pictures of dinner at 6:30 last night and there was still enough natural light to make it work.
  19. Maria March 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm #
    Perfect Spring meal!
  20. Megan @ Country Cleaver March 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm #
    If food could be "happy" this would be the mark to which happiness was judged. Gorgeous!
  21. Averie @ Averie Cooks March 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm #
    Talk about some step by step pics. That took more than 2 minutes to do :) Beautiful!
  22. Cathy @ Noble Pig March 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm #
    Oh it's beautiful! Sadly in Northern Oregon...it is still WINTER! But this looks like a meal that will make me feel like Spring, which is all that matters. And, uh, I'll stick with the vermouth:).
  23. Krissy's Creations March 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm #
    What a beautiful spring dish! And risotto with orzo pasta... Yes please!
  24. Chels R. March 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm #
    I wish SPRING was here now so I could enjoy this dish! Maybe next week!
  25. Deborah March 13, 2012 at 1:22 am #
    I am so in love with this.
  26. Deena @ stay at home FOODIE March 13, 2012 at 3:36 am #
    This is my favorite kind of meal. Yum!
  27. Julia {The Roasted Root} March 13, 2012 at 3:52 am #
    It has been forever since I have made orzo and I've been craving it lately - you must've read my mind! Protein, carbs, veggies...this is quite the well-rounded, healthful and colorful meal! Looks great and hope you had a fun weekend!
  28. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids March 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm #
    Seriously, Bev. How do you keep doing it? Every recipe looks even better than the last one. And, just when I think that I have found the next one that I want to make, you post another one. I have to make this one. Now...don't post another one until I have time to go to the grocery store. :) Phillip Phillips...totally awesome!
  29. Kara March 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm #
    Bev, This looks delish! Kara
  30. Jeanette April 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm #
    I made this recipe and it was delish!!! Thanks for the great recipe!!
  31. Bliss April 12, 2012 at 1:05 am #
    OH.MY.GOD. I just made this for dinner, and it was AMAZING!!!! I am so, so pleased with myself right now and very rarely do I have a reason to be when it comes to cooking. My boyfriend couldnt get it into his mouth fast enough. Thanks Bev for an awesome recipe!! :)


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