This delicious Lemon Asparagus Orzo combines tender pieces of lightly cooked asparagus with fine orzo pasta in a tangy lemon garlic sauce! Every bite is a refreshingly light flavor combination that pairs especially well with chicken or seafood dinners!
Lemon Asparagus Orzo Recipe
Orzo pasta is a great base for so many easy meals and side dishes! It’s a short grain Italian pasta that cooks up quickly and blends beautifully with a wide variety of vegetables, proteins, sauces, and herbs!
I also like orzo in soups like my Italian chicken pastina soup, and it’s wonderful in pasta salads too! There are so many ways to use orzo, but I do truly enjoy this pasta the most when it is flavored with fresh lemon juice!
How To Make Orzo with Lemon and Asparagus
Start your lemon orzo with asparagus by setting a large saucepan or pot on to boil with 3 cups of salted water. The water can be combined in a 50/50 ratio with broth or stock to compliment the flavor of the orzo pasta if it is being served as a side dish. I like to use vegetable stock if I am serving my lemony orzo as a light lunch.
Add one cup of orzo to your boiling water and follow the package instructions for cooking the orzo pasta. In general, the cooking time for orzo is between 7 – 10 minutes.
While the pasta begins cooking, snap the ends off of the asparagus and chop into smaller pieces if desired. You will add the asparagus spears or chunks to cook with the orzo pasta.
For semi-firm asparagus, add the asparagus in the last 3 minutes of cooking. Or for more fork tender asparagus, add to the boiling water in the last 4 minutes of cooking the pasta. Drain the pasta and asparagus when cooked.
Heat a large non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is melted, add your finely minced or crushed garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Stir in the cooked orzo pasta and asparagus, then sprinkle with the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. Toss to coat the orzo and asparagus in the lemon juice, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with the grated Parmesan cheese when serving.
There are many herbs that enhance the wonderful flavor of this easy, light meal or side dish. Try some fresh chopped parsley, thyme, or oregano as stir-ins or garnish!
Lemon Asparagus Orzo
- 3 cups water (or a combination of water and broth)
- 1 cup orzo (uncooked orzo pasta)
- 1 lb asparagus (spears only, or cut into chunks depending on your preference)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp garlic (finely minced or crushed)
- 1 lemon (zest + 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
- each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated, or freshly grated when served)
- In a large saucepan or pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook the orzo pasta according to the package instructions. Add the asparagus spears or chunks and cook along with the orzo for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking time. Drain when pasta is tender. *3 minutes for asparagus that is still semi-firm, or 4 minutes for a more fork tender asparagus.
- In a large non-stick skillet or frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the drained orzo pasta and asparagus to the sauteed garlic and butter. Sprinkle the lemon zest and lemon juice over the pasta, toss to coat. Remove from heat, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan cheese.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma’s kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!