Quick skillet dinners are a smart choice all year long, but I find they're especially welcome on these warm summer days when the goal is to keep the kitchen cool. This one is full of chewy al dente orzo, sweet and juicy tomatoes, spicy Spanish chorizo, and, of course, nutty Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.
The orzo cooks directly in the skillet and releases some of its starch as it simmers, making this dish creamy and risotto-like — without the time commitment. It's simple and comforting, yet not at all heavy.
A Boatload of Flavor from Just One Ingredient
This recipe has a short ingredient list, but doesn't skimp on flavor. That's all thanks to Spanish chorizo, a dried and cured pork sausage enhanced with garlic, herbs, and smoked paprika, which gives the meat its signature smoky flavor. You can buy either hot or mild, depending on your preference for spice, so pick up whichever one your family would enjoy.
Cooking the chorizo in the skillet before adding the other ingredients allows the fat to render from the meat, so when the orzo and tomatoes hit the pan, they're immediately infused with smoky, aromatic flavor. It's the easiest way to crank up the volume on a simple skillet dinner without having to reach for an overwhelming number of spice jars.
Cheesy Tomato Chorizo Orzo Skillet
Prep time: 10 minutes ; cooking time: 20 minutes
dried Spanish chorizo, casing and ends removed, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
small yellow onion, diced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups
dried orzo pasta
medium tomatoes, chopped
2 1/2 cups
low-sodium chicken broth
grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Heat the oil in a 9- or 10-inch regular or cast iron skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat begins to render and starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and orzo and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes.
Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the pasta is al dente and the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes or according to package instructions. (If the pasta is cooked before the liquid is completely absorbed, uncover the skillet and let it simmer for an extra minute or two, stirring occasionally, to evaporate it.) Stir in the cheese and parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish each serving with more cheese, if desired.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.