Packed full of all my favorite ingredients, this cheesy chicken broccoli and orzo has my name all over it. Any recipe with pasta, broccoli, and cheese immediately has my attention. Plus, you have to love a one-pan meal for easy clean-up.
The broccoli is steamed in the chicken stock as the orzo finishes cooking and becomes crisp-tender and so good. I think people who hate broccoli have eaten mushy, overcooked broccoli too many times. But when you lightly steam or roast this healthy, green veggie, it is really quite wonderful. There is a reason it is one of our favorite vegetables.
Boneless, skinless chicken breast: One small chicken breast is perfect for this recipe. Chicken thighs would definitely work as well. The chicken is seasoned with salt and pepper.
Butter & Olive Oil: Swirled together to create the perfect mixture to saute the chicken.
Onion: Red, yellow or white onion will work just fine. I love the savory flavor of onions.
Ripe Bell Pepper: Add color and texture. I usually use red bell pepper.
Garlic: Garlic is essential in a pasta and chicken dish.
Paprika: Adds color and a bit of smoky flavor.
Red Pepper Flakes: A hint of heat.
Low Sodium Chicken Stock: The orzo cooks in the stock and absorbs the flavor.
Orzo: The tiny, rice-shaped pasta cooks quickly in this one-pan dish.
Broccoli Florets: Broccoli add flavor, color, and superior nutrients to make this pasta dish a complete meal.
Half & Half : Adds richness and creaminess.
Mozzarella Cheese: Melts quickly and so good with pasta and chicken.
Start by adding your chicken to your preheated pan. Saute until the chicken is browned and cooked through. You will then remove the chicken and set it aside to keep the chicken from getting overcooked.
I like to assemble the rest of the ingredients while the chicken is in the pan. This dish comes together quickly, and it is nice to have everything within reach when you are ready to add to the pan.
The onions and peppers are then added to the same pan to saute. Then add the garlic and spices.
Add the chicken stock and orzo to the pan. The orzo will absorb the stock as it cooks.
While the orzo is cooking, start prepping your broccoli florets by chopping them into bite-sized pieces.
Add the broccoli to the pan. It will steam and cook while the orzo finishes cooking. Stir occasionally. If the pan looks dry and all the liquid is absorbed before the orzo is cooked, add a bit more stock. The broccoli will turn bright green and be somewhat tender, but not overcooked.
Add half & half, cheese, and chicken. Stir to combine. I like to leave part of the cheese on top to melt. The dish is done when the mozzarella is melted.
While this cheesy chicken broccoli with orzo is definitely a one-pan meal I always like to add more veggies. Roasted asparagus is a great side.
For another easy recipe featuring orzo pasta try Parmesan herb chicken & mushrooms with orzo.
Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Orzo
- 1 small boneless skinless chicken breast chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ¼ cup onion diced
- ¼ cup ripe bell pepper diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
- ½ cup orzo uncooked
- 1½ cups broccoli florets chopped
- ¼ cup half & half
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- Cube chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add butter and olive oil. When heated and the butter is melted, add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add onions and ripe bell peppers to the pan and cook until they begin to get tender. Add garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Pour chicken stock into pan, and stir. Add orzo, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 4 minutes.
- Remove lid and add chopped broccoli. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes, allowing broccoli to steam and pasta to finish cooking. If all of the liquid is absorbed, add an additional ¼ cup of stock as needed.
- Remove lid and add half & half, shredded cheese, and cooked chicken. Stir to combine. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes on low, or until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.