This recipe for one pot orzo risotto with sausage and broccoli is a weeknight hero. Studded with broccoli, sun-dried tomato and basil, and made in one pot, it just doesn't get easier than this.
Pasta is indisputably my favorite food, ever. I love a good al dente noodle, twirled up on my fork, showered with parm or pepper. I love teeny tiny ditalini and fat, hollow bucatini. I love classic spaghetti and I love paper thin sheets of homemade lasagna.
Most of all, I love orzo, because it's pasta, but shaped like rice. And why eat rice, when you can eat pasta, right?
Only kidding, rice is amazing, but orzo. Orzo risotto that you even have to stand and stir? That won't require draining? One pot orzo risotto that's flecked with sausage and broccoli? I mean, this one is KILLER you guys. It's so crazy good. Let's talk about it.
How Do You Cook This Orzo Risotto?
My method for this orzo risotto is a cross between how you would normally cook risotto and how you would boil pasta.
First, we sauté some sausage. I used Beyond Brands vegan sausage to make this plant-based, but any hot Italian sausage will do.
Then we add garlic and orzo in the same pan, because it's got all those glorious, flavorful, crusty bottom bits!
We add a precise amount of water, and then we walk away.
There is no need to stir this orzo the same way you would a classic rice based risotto, but it will still be silky and creamy!
After the orzo has had a head start, we add the rest of our ingredients like broccoli and basil and give it one big mix. That's it!
What Kind Of Pot Should I Use?
I use my Staub Cocotte constantly, and I find it perfect for this recipe. You'll want to use something with a cast-iron bottom (or a bottom that would allow browning for the sausage), deep sides and a heavy lid so that the orzo can steam well, and quickly.
How Do I Brown The Sausage?
Remove it from the casing if you've got any. Then crumble it with your hands. Turn the heat up to high and get your pan very, very hot. You don't need oil because sausage is fatty as is. Place the sausage in and then turn the heat down to medium low. Cook it undisturbed for a few minutes, then toss. Once you see some nice caramelization, and cooked crumbles, you can remove it from the pan. It should take 7-10 minutes.
Does The Orzo Get Super Sticky?
Nope, I've found that 3 cups of water is the perfect amount for this recipe. If you find your orzo is feeling a little dry or stuck together, add another ¼ cup of water and see if that helps!
Should I Cook My Orzo In Broth Instead Of Water?
I know some recipes recommend cooking orzo in stock to add more flavor, but I am not a fan of this method. I would never boil pasta in broth under normal circumstances, so why do it now? Stick with water, it's much less likely to get gloopy!
What Substitutes Can I Make?
If you don't have sausage, you can use ground meat, or skip it entirely.
You can swap broccoli for any firm vegetable that can cook quickly when chopped small, such as zucchini, cauliflower, or peas.
Sun-dried tomatoes can be replaced with roasted red peppers.
Basil can be swapped for any soft herb you like, such as flat-leaf parsley or cilantro. Just make sure to keep the ratios the same.
How Can I Make This Recipe Vegan?
You can use vegan sausage.
You can also either remove the parmesan cheese entirely from the recipe, or you can swap it with nutritional yeast.
How Long Will This Last In The Fridge?
Not long because it's so delicious! Realistically 3-4 days should be fine.Print
a delicious and complete meal with orzo, caramelized sausage and broccoli, flavored with sun-dried tomato and basil!
1 cup orzo
3 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ lb. (~2 links) sweet or hot Italian sausage, casing removing, crumbled
small head of broccoli, stalk removed
5-7 leaves fresh basil, sliced into ribbons, plus more for garnish
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan, grated
- Bring a pot to a medium-high heat. Add sausage crumbles and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, then toss and cook for 5 more minutes, until caramelized and cooked
- Remove sausage from the pan and set aside. If there is a lot of extra fat in your pan, pour it out before moving on to the next step
- Add garlic and orzo to the hot pan, turn the heat down to medium
- Toss the orzo and garlic, allowing to toast for a few minutes. Once the pasta looks glossy, add 3 cups of water (don't add salt yet)
- Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for ~5 minutes, until half of the liquid has been absorbed
- While the pasta cooks, cut the broccoli into florets. Then, roughly chop the florets into tiny pieces. You don't want crumbs but you don't want whole florets either. The pieces should be roughly the size of a pea.
- After half of the water has been absorbed, add broccoli and sun-dried tomato. Season with a large pinch of salt. Don't mix. Cover and allow to cook for 2-3 more minutes.
- Now, add sausage, basil strips, and ¼ cup of parmesan. Finally, mix
- Your orzo should have absorbed all of the water by now. If it feels too sticky, add another splash or two of water, up to ¼ cup
- Taste and add more salt if necessary, this will depend on your sausage!
- Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top of the pot, plus some extra basil for garnish, and serve
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Pasta, Rice & Grains
- Method: One Pot/ Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian, American
Keywords: one pot, orzo, one pot pasta, 30 minute meals, pasta dinner, sausage, sausage and broccoli
Want to make more quick and easy pasta meals? Try my Pasta with Peas & Pecorino!
*this post contains affiliate links, from which I may earn a commission on if you choose to buy something.