Recipe: Cheesy Tomato Chorizo Orzo Skillet

Recipe: Cheesy Tomato Chorizo Orzo Skillet

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Sheela Prakash
Jul 25, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

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.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

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

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes ; cooking time: 20 minutes

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 4 ounces

    dried Spanish chorizo, casing and ends removed, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

  • 1

    small yellow onion, diced

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups

    dried orzo pasta

  • 2

    medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 1/2 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 ounces

    grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving

  • 1/4 cup

    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.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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