This easy, flavoursome and zesty creamy chicken orzo with mushrooms and silverbeet (or spinach) is the ultimate comfort food!
Done in 45 minutes, this one-pot creamy pasta dish is a great weeknight dinner option.
The trick is to caramelise the mushrooms and chicken to nice and golden for maximum flavour and depth to this simple yet reliably yummy pasta!
- Silverbeet (Swiss chard) - delicious and nutritious leafy greens that work very well in creamy pasta like this or pasta soups. Can use baby spinach leaves if desired however silverbeets hold their shape much better and add volume to the dish.
- Chicken thighs (skinless, boneless) - ideal cut of chicken to use as it's tender and flavoursome. Can use chicken breasts if preferred but it will turn out tough and potentially dry.
- Lemon juice and zest - adds a delightful citrusy touch. The acidity will cut through the richness of the creamy sauce and brighten up this creamy chicken orzo! A technique also used in my creamy lemon chicken pasta recipe.
- Fresh parsley - adds freshness and additional aroma. Can use other herbs if you like such as oregano or thyme.
- Chicken stock - for convenience and quick flavour, I like using chicken stock powder (chicken boullion) mixed with water as stock. Of course, can use fresh stock if available.
- Mushrooms - can use button mushrooms, swiss brown mushrooms, portabello mushrooms or a mix. Mushrooms add extra flavour, volume and of course, veggie goodness to this creamy orzo pasta dish.
This one-pot creamy chicken orzo pasta dish takes about 45 minutes to make from start to finish.
Allocate roughly 15 minutes to preparation time and 30 minutes of cook time.
To start, prepare all of the ingredients so that you are not rushing around the kitchen when you're cooking on the stove.
Wash and remove the tough white stems of silverbeet then roughly chop the leaves. You can leave the stems in, however, they have more of a bite (quite tough) compared to the tender leafy parts. This means you'd want to cook the silverbeet a bit longer in the creamy chicken orzo to soften it.
Once chopped, you should have 2 large handfuls of the leaves. Optional: use baby spinach leaves instead.
Then, finely chop fresh parsley and onions. Mince garlic, thickly slice mushrooms and then cut chicken thighs into large bite-sized pieces.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and mix well.
Now you're ready to cook!
Cook creamy chicken orzo
In a large saute pan with a lid, saute mushrooms with some olive oil until nutty and golden brown on both sides over high heat.
Caramelising mushrooms creates the most amazing flavour!
The trick to caramelising mushrooms to golden brown is by spreading them out into a single layer over high heat and only turning them every 2 minutes or so. This allows sufficient time for the water to release from the mushrooms, evaporate, and only after that, the color will start to appear due to direct heat from the pan.
Caramelising mushrooms for extra flavour is even more important when making mushroom-centred dishes like my creamy mushroom sauce (great for steaks) or healthy creamy mushroom pasta (without any creamy)!
Once golden brown and nutty on both sides, add in some minced garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute for a further minute then remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan (no need to wash), saute onions and garlic for about 1 minute over high heat. Then, add chicken pieces.
Just like sauteeing mushrooms, the same concept applies to caramelising chicken for maximum flavour. Spread the chicken out into a single layer, brown over high heat for ~2 to 3 minutes then flip once the pan side has caramelised to lightly golden.
Once both sides of the chicken are lightly golden, add orzo and chicken stock. Bring it up to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook with the lid on for about 12 minutes. Stir every few minutes to prevent the bottom from sticking.
4 cups of chicken stock might seem like a lot but not to worry, the orzo pasta will soak it all up!
Add the sauteed mushrooms back.
Then add roughly chopped silverbeet leaves and cook until soft. It might seem like a lot but like all other leafy vegetables, it'll reduce in size significantly very quickly.
Then, add in heavy creamy, grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Mix well, taste the creamy chicken orzo pasta and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Look at how creamy this is! So delicious.
I like my creamy orzo nice and thick like the pictures here. Feel free to add a bit more water or stock to loosen it up to your liking.
To finish off, turn the heat off and mix in finely chopped fresh parsley and some black pepper.
That's it! Simple and delicious creamy chicken orzo pasta packed with nutty mushrooms and healthy leafy greens done in 45 minutes.
To serve, top with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Useful tips and tricks
- Caramelise chicken and mushrooms for maximum flavour. The trick is to spread them out in a single layer in the saute pan, undisturbed for a few minutes before flipping. This gives time for the moisture to release, evaporate and finally, caramelise over high heat. Remember, colour = flavour!
- Add extra stock or water to loosen the pasta when reheating. Pasta loves liquids and soaks them up very easily and quickly! So don't worry if they look very dry the next day. A bit of water will do the trick.
- If keeping the stems of silverbeet (chard), add them to the creamy chicken orzo earlier (about 5 minutes into step 3 in the recipe card below) to give the stems time to soften.
- Add a little lemon juice at a time - this recipe only calls for 1 teaspoon of lemon juice which isn't a lot compared to my creamy lemon chicken pasta. This is because I found silverbeet (chard) to be quite acidic already. Add in a teaspoon first, mix and taste before deciding if you need more zing to your liking.
Orzo is a small pasta that resembles rice in shape. Unlike rice, however, orzo is made from wheat and is not gluten-free.
Yes. If using rotisserie chicken instead, skip the browning part in step #2 in the recipe card below. Simply saute onions and garlic for 1 minute then add the rotisserie chicken and continue straight onto step #3.
Absolutely! This recipe can last up to 6 months in the freezer, stored in airtight containers.
Leftovers and storage instructions
Store any leftover creamy chicken orzo in airtight containers for up to 4 days in the fridge. They last up to 6 months in the freezer.
When reheating, add generous splashes of water to loosen the pasta up and it'll turn creamy and saucy again!
Made this recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you. 🙂
Happy cooking! - Gen
Creamy Chicken Orzo
- 500 g (1 lb) chicken thighs cut into large bite-sized pieces
- 300 g (10 oz) orzo pasta ~1⅓ cups, aka risoni
- 350 g (12 oz) button mushrooms thickly sliced, portabello okay too
- ½ bunch silverbeet (chard) stems removed, roughly cut leaves. Should be ~2 large handfuls
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup heavy cream aka thickened cream
- 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (note 1)
- 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese grated, plus extra to serve
- ¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice optional: plus zest of half lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saute pan with a lid, saute mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat until golden brown (note 2). About 5 minutes. Add half of the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute for a further 1 minute then remove and set aside.
- In the same pan (no need to wash), add remaining olive oil, remaining garlic and onions. Saute for 1 minute then add in chicken over high heat. Spread the chicken into 1 single layer and flip after ~3 minutes to lightly caramelise and brown both sides.
- Add orzo and chicken stock. Bring up to a boil then reduce heat to low and cook for ~12 minutes with the lid on. Stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking.
- Add mushrooms back in, stir through then add in silverbeet. Stir through until the silverbeet has softened.
- Add heavy cream, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest (optional). Mix well, taste, and adjust for salt, pepper or lemon juice to taste. The pasta should be thick and creamy. Add in more water to loosen if preferred.
- Turn the heat off. Mix in parsley and serve with extra parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.