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Creamy Baked Orzo with Meatballs Recipe

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Dinner is ready! Creamy baked orzo with bits of garlic butter peeking through, a luscious tomato-y base, and meatballs if you want. Silky, cozy, and a hit with everyone!

Roasty tomatoes, creamy parmesan orzo, and some meatballs if you want, all laced with a little bit of garlic butter. This is silky, luscious, and dangerously easy to eat. One bowl becomes two bowls becomes three… it’s so good. Plus, the whole thing gets mixed and baked all in one dish, which is the only way I want to live from here on out.

In This Post: Everything You Need For Creamy Baked Orzo

Creamy baked orzo in a pan next to a bowl of parmesan cheese

Lindsay’s Notes

This is the definition of a weeknight hero! It’s comforting, cozy, and ridiculously easy to make.

Pour everything in a pan, bake it in the oven, and be rewarded with a creamy baked orzo that is full of simple, nostalgic flavor. It has a Spaghetti-O’s vibe in the most delicious way – a little extra starchy with the baked-all-together texture, plus rocking that comforting taste of store-bought tomato soup. And with all the coziness, the addition of fresh garlic, butter, Parmesan, and fresh basil gives it the perfect amount of lift.

I actually love this meal without any meatballs at all – the first time I made it, I just had the roasty tomatoes, the creamy tomato orzo, and the parmesan, garlic, butter, and basil finishers. It was SO good, I practically ate half the pan by myself.

But if you are looking to add some protein, meatballs are a good choice – and my first recommendation, of course, would be the baked chicken meatballs. I’ve also had good luck with just throwing a bag of store bough frozen meatballs right in there, although you might not even need the whole bag – usually half a bag, or a few meatballs per person, is good enough for us.

How To Make This Creamy Baked Orzo

Step 1: Pour Orzo Directly Into a 9×13 Pan.

Yes, directly in there!

White hand holding a package of DeLallo orzo

We use DeLallo orzo – all their pasta is top-notch, imported from Italy, with the best texture. It’s bronze cut, which means each individual piece has a bit more texture that can hold onto all that saucy goodness.

Step 2: Add Stuff Right in There.

This is the beauty of this recipe. Just pour it all in! We’re adding:

  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Tomato soup
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Meatballs if you want
Tomato mixture gets poured into white pan.

Step 3: Mix and Bake.

Give it a little stir and transfer that guy to the oven. Everything will happen right in the pan!

Tomatoes, orzo, meatballs, and tomato soup get mixed into 9x13 pan.

Step 4: Add Your “Finishers” for Flavor and Beauty.

All is fair game! I like to add:

  • Fresh grated garlic
  • Butter
  • Parmesan
  • Fresh basil
Knob of butter on top of baked orzo

Butter and cheese on top of baked orzo

Watch How To Make This Creamy Baked Orzo


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Chewy little pasta bites with a nostalgic-feeling tomato base and bits of garlic butter peeking through. Parm sprinkle, basil leaves, and you’re good to go!

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour the orzo, vegetable broth, tomato soup, meatballs, and tomatoes into a 9×13 baking dish. Stir to get everything coated and combined.
  2. Bake for 25 minutes. Give it a little stir and check the texture. If needed, bake for another 10 minutes to let the orzo finish absorbing the liquid. Fluff up the orzo with a fork and stir in any remaining liquid that might be bubbling around the edges. This will gently break down the tomatoes and release some of their juices as well. (As the orzo sits, it will continue to absorb liquid so add more tomato soup or broth as desired.)
  3. Add the Parmesan, garlic, and butter; stir to melt it in. Top with fresh basil leaves, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: baked orzo, orzo recipe, orzo and meatballs

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Frequently Asked Questions For Creamy Baked Orzo

What can I use instead of tomato soup?

Jarred tomato sauce would be a great stand-in and give it more of a true spaghetti taste and feel.

What other protein would work well here?

Throwing a can of chickpeas in would be perfect!

Can you make this vegetarian / meatless?

Yes! The chickpea alternative would be the way to go.

How do you make this gluten-free and/or dairy-free?

Use gluten-free orzo and dairy-free butter and parmesan. You would also want to make sure that your tomato soup is a gluten-free and/or dairy-free variety.

Can you make this on the stovetop?

Yes! I would boil the orzo (cook to al dente) and then drain it off. Blister your tomatoes in a skillet until they’re bursty, add the orzo, and build a sauce with a combination of broth, tomato soup, butter, garlic, and parmesan.

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Thanks to DeLallo for sponsoring this recipe!

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