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One Pot Chicken and Orzo

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In this One-Pot Chicken and Orzo recipe, crispy chicken thighs cook right on top of the orzo in a garlicky tomato sauce with basil. It’s simple to make, serve it straight from the oven with your favorite side salad.

One Pot Chicken and Orzo

Chicken Orzo Recipe

I love a one-pan dinner so much that my cookbook Skinnytaste One and Done features 120 one-pot dinner recipes. It’s a fan favorite! So, this one pot chicken orzo bake doesn’t disappoint! The skin is crispy and delicious, and the orzo and sauce are so flavorful! I serve it with a simple arugula salad on the side, but roasted vegetables, like broccoli or roasted asparagus, would also be great.

Chicken and Orzo

Why This One Pan Chicken Orzo Recipe Works

  • Convenient: Cooking everything in one pot keeps this recipe easy and makes cleanup a breeze. Perfect for busy weeknights!
  • Delicious: Although the ingredients may be simple, this meal is anything but bland. Bone-in, skin-on thighs infuse the orzo and broth with rich flavor, and garlic, onion, and tomato paste enhance the dish.
  • Quick Prep: The only prep you have to do is salt the chicken and cut the onion and garlic.

Chicken and Orzo ingredients

Chicken Thighs with Orzo Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy one-pot chicken and orzo recipe:

  • Chicken Thighs: You want bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this meal because we are going to get the skin super crispy.
  • Salt seasons the chicken and draws out the skin’s moisture so it can get crispy.
  • Olive Oil coats the skillet before cooking the chicken.
  • Onion: Dice a half cup of white or yellow onion.
  • Orzo is a small rice-shaped pasta.
  • Garlic: Mince 2 to 3 garlic cloves, depending on how much garlic you prefer.
  • Tomato Paste gives this pasta dish a complex tomato taste.
  • Broth: The orzo cooks in chicken broth instead of water for more flavor. You may need more than 3 cups if the pasta soaks up the broth too fast.
  • Pecorino Romano is optional, but I recommend adding it for a richer flavor.
  • Basil: Garnish with a chiffonade of fresh basil. What’s chiffonade? It’s just a fancy French word for thinly slicing herbs or leafy greens into strips.

How to Make Chicken and Orzo

  1. Prep the Chicken: Season the thighs with salt and bring them to room temperature. The salt will release moisture, so thoroughly dry the chicken skin with paper towels before cooking.
  2. Cook the Chicken, skin side down, in an oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven on medium heat. Once they’re golden and crisp, remove the chicken from the pan.
  3. Remaining Ingredients: Sauté the onion and season with the remaining salt until aromatic. Add the orzo and toast for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of it is lightly golden and there’s a nutty aroma. Stir in the garlic, followed by the tomato paste. Cook it for a few minutes until it caramelizes.
  4. Bake: Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil. Put the chicken thighs, flesh side down, into the orzo, ensuring the skin is NOT in the liquid. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake at 375°F for 20 to 25 minutes. If the orzo has soaked up too much of the liquid before it’s cooked, add more broth.
  5. Garnish: Top the skillet with the grated cheese and basil before serving.

Variations

  • Chicken: Substitute chicken thighs for any chicken on the bone, such as chicken drumsticks and chicken breasts, and adjust the cooking time as needed.
  • Crispier Chicken: Salt the chicken the night before cooking and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight for even crispier skin.
  • Pasta: Swap the orzo for another small pasta, like acini di pepe.
  • Make it gluten-free with gluten-free orzo.
  • Onion: Use a red onion, Vidalia onion, shallot, or leeks.
  • Dairy-Free: Omit the Pecorino Romano.
  • Herbs and spices: Sub basil for fresh parsley, add black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.

Serving Suggestions

Below are some vegetable side dishes that would be great with this healthy chicken orzo recipe.

Storage

The leftover chicken and orzo pasta will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. You can also freeze it for 3 months. To eat, thaw it in the fridge and microwave it until warm.

One Pot Chicken and Orzo

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One-Pot Chicken Orzo Recipe

4.75 from 12 votes
11
Cals:425
Protein:23.5
Carbs:41.5
Fat:18
In this One-Pot Chicken and Orzo recipe, crispy chicken thighs cooks right on top of the orzo in a garlicky tomato sauce with basil. It’s simple to make, and you can serve it straight from the oven with your favorite side salad.
Course: Dinner, main dish
Cuisine: American, American-Italian
One Pot Chicken and Orzo
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 thigh, 3/4 cup orzo

Equipment

  • large oven safe skillet

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2-4 tablespoons grated pecorino romano, or Parmesan cheese, optional
  • ¼ cup basil, chiffonade

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Season chicken thighs with ¾ tsp of salt & bring to room temperature; thoroughly dry chicken skin with a paper towel before step 2.
  • Heat oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat, add chicken thighs skin side down. Render until golden and crisp, about 12-15 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.
  • In the same pan, add onion and remaining salt and saute until aromatic, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add orzo and toast 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most pieces are lightly golden and there is a nutty aroma.
  • Add garlic and mix to combine. Add tomato paste and cook to caramelize, 2-3 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth & bring to a boil. Nestle chicken thighs, flesh side down, into the orzo (make sure that the skin is NOT in the liquid)  and transfer to the oven Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until orzo is cooked through.*
  • Serve in cooking vessel and top with grated cheese and basil.

Last Step:

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Notes

*Have a bit of extra broth on hand in case the orzo soaks up the broth too fast,
add more broth in ⅓ cup increments. 
  • For even crispier skin salt chicken the night before and leave in the refrigerator,
     uncovered, over night
  •  Any type of onion can be used and not affect the composition, we suggest
    yellow but red, vidalia, shallot or even leek works just as well
  • A 7 oz jar of tomato paste yields about ¾ cup.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 thigh, 3/4 cup orzo, Calories: 425 kcal, Carbohydrates: 41.5 g, Protein: 23.5 g, Fat: 18 g, Saturated Fat: 4.5 g, Cholesterol: 92 mg, Sodium: 724 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 7 g

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