Recipe: Creamy orzo with asparagus and peas

A pasta dish that acts like it's risotto for a genius speedy supper


Photo: Eva Kolenko

  • place PRE 5 minutes
  • place COOK 20 - 25 minutes
  • place SERVES 4
  • printicon

This quick orzo pasta is a great back-pocket week-night recipe. It has the same luxurious texture and rich flavor as risotto, but it cooks in a fraction of the time! I love how this medley of spring veggies contrasts with the creamy base, but feel free to switch the vegetables based on the season.


  • Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium casserole over medium heat. Add the leeks, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, and several grinds of pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic, orzo and 750ml of the broth. Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

  • Uncover and stir in the lemon zest and another 120ml of the stock. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 2 - 4 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy and the orzo is cooked through.

  • Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the asparagus and peas into the boiling water and blanch for 1 - 2 minutes, or until tender but still bright green.

  • Drain, transfer to a kitchen towel, and pat dry. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the ¼ teaspoon salt, lemon juice, and several grinds of pepper.

  • Before serving, check the orzo’s consistency. If it has thickened too much, stir in the remaining 120ml stock.

  • Portion into bowls and top with the vegetable mixture. Garnish with fresh herbs, lemon zest, and microgreens, if using, season to taste and serve with lemon wedges.

    Both recipes adapted from ‘Love and Lemons: Simple Feel Good Food’ (Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC)


60ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
120ml dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, grated
340g orzo pasta
850ml to 950ml vegetable stock
2 tsp lemon zest, plus more for garnish
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 2.5-cm pieces
100g frozen peas
2 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
Fresh herbs (basil and/or tarragon), for garnish
Microgreens, for garnish (optional)
Ground black pepper

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