This simple but flavorful summer meal features a cherry tomato sauce and orzo all cooked together in one pot. It takes just under 30 minutes to make using less than 10 ingredients!
I am a huge fan of one pot pasta recipes because they are convenient and make the silkiest sauce, thanks to the starches that pasta releases as it cooks.
This one pot orzo is like a cross between my pesto orzo and gnocchi with roasted tomatoes recipes. Instead of pesto we are using cherry tomatoes, garlic, and shallots that cook in the pot at the same time as the orzo.
This is a super simple recipe that's big on flavor, despite taking under 30 minutes to make.
- Quick & easy: This one pot orzo takes just about 30 minutes to make and uses less than 10 ingredients.
- Made in one pot: The orzo cooks in the simmering sauce, so this recipe only requires one pot plus a cutting board.
- Great for weeknight meals: Simply add your favorite protein like chickpeas or veggie sausage to make a balanced vegetarian meal.
- Flavor-packed: Simply sauteing shallot and garlic in butter creates the most fragrant and flavorful base for the orzo. The cherry tomatoes add a punch of acidity and texture similar to roasted cherry tomato sauce.
- Orzo: Orzo is technically pasta, but it looks like a cross between rice and pasta. Find it in the pasta aisle.
- Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes. I use one pint of tomatoes and add tomato paste to enhance the tomato flavor.
- Vegetable bouillon is one of my favorite kitchen ingredients. It's a less expensive and more flavorful alternative to vegetable broth, so it's worth keeping on hand. If you don't have bouillon, you can use vegetable broth in place of water.
- Garlic and shallots are sauteed in butter, making the flavorful base of the cherry tomato sauce. Feel free to use olive oil or vegan butter to make this recipe dairy-free.
How to make
I recommend using a large skillet with tall sides and a lid or a Dutch oven to make this recipe.
Start by heating the pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the butter. To the melted butter add the diced shallot and cherry tomatoes.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the shallot is softened and turning golden.
Add garlic, tomato paste, and vegetable bouillon. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is aromatic.
Pour in the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. I recommend smashing the cherry tomatoes with a potato masher so that their juices are released. It's also an easy way to prevent hot tomatoes from popping in your mouth when you take a bite of the orzo!
Stir in the orzo. Reduce heat to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Once simmering, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Stir every 3-4 minutes to keep the orzo from sticking to the pan.
When the orzo is mostly cooked, remove the lid from the pot. This will allow excess liquid to steam off and the sauce to thicken. Continue simmering until the orzo is completely cooked, just about 2-3 minutes.
- I have a lot of tips about making one-pot pastas over on my one-pot pasta page. The most important tip is to bring the liquid to a boil before adding the orzo. This keeps the orzo from overcooking.
- Sauce thickness: The sauce should be thick but not soupy. If there is still too much liquid but the orzo is cooked through, just continue simmering over the lowest heat while the pot is uncovered. This will evaporate some of the liquid. The sauce does thicken a lot when cooled.
- Protein: This dish is so good with pan-fried halloumi! I have also served it with chickpeas and plant-based sausage for a serving of protein.
- Stir the pasta: Orzo tends to stick to the bottom of the pot more than most pasta shapes. To keep this from happening, make sure to stir the orzo every few minutes while it is simmering.
- Serving size: This recipe makes 3-4 servings, depending on your appetite and whether you are serving anything else with it. The recipe can be doubled or tripled, just double or triple all ingredients and keep cook time the same.
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One Pot Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 small shallots roughly chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced; adjust to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon see note #1
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup orzo
- ¼ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
- parmesan to garnish; optional
- Start by heating a tall-sided skillet or medium pot over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add the butter. To the melted butter add the cherry tomatoes and chopped shallot. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the shallot is softened and turning golden.
- Add garlic, tomato paste, and vegetable bouillon. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is aromatic.
- Use a potato masher or spatula to burst/smash the cherry tomatoes.
- Pour in the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, stir in the orzo and salt.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Once simmering, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Stir every 3-4 minutes to keep the orzo from sticking to the pan.
- When the orzo is mostly cooked, remove the lid from the pot. Continue simmering until the orzo is completely cooked and the sauce is thickened, just about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chopped basil. Taste for salt and pepper. Enjoy!
- Bouillon: An equal amount of vegetable broth can be used in place of water. Just omit the bouillon.
- To make this a main dish, add your favorite protein like chickpeas, veggie sausage, or a side of halloumi.
- Makes 3-4 servings, depending on appetite. I like to serve it with a side of garlic toast and a small salad.
- Leftovers are best within 3-4 days. Keep refrigerated in a closed container. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat, adding a splash of vegetable broth as needed to loosen the sauce.
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I forgot to rate it! 5/5
I made this without the basil or parmesan because I didn't have those on hand and it was ABSOLUTELY amazing... I used vegetable stock instead of the bouillon because I didn't have that as well. I served this as a side to my scallops and it almost took the spotlight away from the scallops... can you believe that! I can't even imagine how good this will be with the basil and parmesan, I am running to the store to get those ingredients specifically to make this dish again tonight, that is how much my family and I loved it. 100% recommend to anyone. Amazing!
Thank you for the great review! I actually made this without parmesan the first few times and it was just as delicious, but the parm does add a little extra something 🙂
This came out so well! The tomatoes came out so well (and popping them with the masher was fun too). I think next time I may add more orzo; the sauce-pasta ratio was a bit more saucy than I prefer. Very glad for the tip about scraping the bottom of the pan when you mix.
Thanks for the review! I bet you could get away with at least 1/4 cup more orzo, maybe even 1/2 cup if you keep a close eye on it 🙂
Hands down the best pasta dish I have made in years!!! So flavorful.
Awesome!! Thanks so much for the review!
I made the recipe as is only changing regular butter for vegan and vegan parm. We enjoyed so much and was very easy. Would certainly make again.
Thanks for the review! 🙂
Oh wow. One of the best dishes I've cooked in ages. So tasty and so easy. I've made it just now and can't stop eating it. I added a tin of chickpeas near the end to pad it out, didn't have basil so used coriander (your cilantro) which I loved but want to try it next with basil - and topped it with the parmesan. Can't wait to take it to work for lunch this week. You are so clever, thank you!
Thanks so much for the review! 🙂