One-Pot Creamy Tuscan Shrimp and Orzo

published Apr 9, 2024
One-Pot Creamy Tuscan Shrimp and Orzo Recipe

The orzo and shrimp cook right in the creamy sun-dried tomato and Parmesan sauce for a comforting and quick one-pot meal.

Serves4 to 6

Prep20 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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overhead shot of tuscan shrimp orzo in a yellow pan, topped with parmesan cheese.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

The only things that remain constant from week to week in my house are the full schedules and the dinners made from shrimp and pasta. Petite pasta shapes, like orzo, and tender shrimp can be flavored in dozens of ways (my favorites include smoky Cajun-style and springy lemon and fennel-seasoned) and cook in minutes. That means that no matter how busy my afternoons and evenings are, I can always rely on a nourishing and flavorful home-cooked meal. 

The flavors in this creamy shrimp and orzo were inspired by one of my favorite chicken dinners, Tuscan chicken, but I loved adapting it to include quick-cooking shrimp and leafy greens. This satisfying one-pot dinner is made by cooking orzo in a flavorful sun-dried tomato sauce until rich and creamy. Handfuls of grated Parmesan, baby spinach, and shrimp are stirred in at the very end to finish off this deliciously comforting meal.

Why You’ll Love It

  • This entire meal made of juicy shrimp, just-wilted spinach, and a creamy Parmesan and sun-dried tomato sauce comes together in just 40 minutes in a single pot. 
  • Orzo works miracles in this dish. This recipe shows you how to coax orzo, broth, and milk into an impossibly creamy pasta and sauce.

Key Ingredients in Creamy One-Pot Tuscan Shrimp and Orzo

  • Shrimp: Thaw frozen shrimp overnight in the refrigerator or quickly under cool running water (the same methods we use for thawing other seafood like salmon). Buy peeled and deveined shrimp (with or without the tails on) to cut down on prep time. 
  • Orzo: Save time by cooking this rice-shaped pasta in the same pot as the sauce and shrimp instead of boiling it separately. Stir constantly to thicken the sauce with the pasta’s starches and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are softer and more plump than those that are dry-packed. If you only have dry-packed on hand, steep them in warm water or broth before adding to the recipe.
  • Spinach: Stir in an entire 5-ounce package of tender baby spinach to add a colorful vegetable to the dish. 
  • Parmesan cheese: Shred your own cheese from the wedge or use store-bought. This cheese adds a salty, nutty flavor to the sauce.
  • Milk: While our Tuscan chicken recipe relied on heavy cream, cooking the orzo risotto-style in a mix of milk and broth gives this sauce a lighter (but still lusciously creamy) consistency. 

One-Pot Creamy Tuscan Shrimp and Orzo Recipe

The orzo and shrimp cook right in the creamy sun-dried tomato and Parmesan sauce for a comforting and quick one-pot meal.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 2 cloves


  • 1/2 cup

    oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup freshly grated or 1/3 cup store-bought grated), plus more for serving

  • 1 pound

    raw large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined and thawed if frozen

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 pound

    dried orzo pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)

  • 2 teaspoons

    dried Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 cups

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 2 cups

    whole or 2% milk

  • 5 ounces

    baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)


  1. Dice 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 1/2 cups). Mince 2 garlic cloves. Thinly slice 1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese if needed (about 1/2 cup lightly packed), or measure out 1/3 cup store-bought grated.

  2. Pat 1 pound raw large peeled and deveined shrimp dry with paper towels and season all over with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 pound dried orzo pasta, 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Add 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth and 2 cups whole or 2% milk, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat as needed to maintain a rapid simmer and cook, stirring constantly so that the orzo doesn't stick, for 5 minutes.

  5. Add the shrimp, Parmesan, and 5 ounces baby spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is al dente and the shrimp are just cooked through and opaque, 2 to 3 minutes more. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Add more broth or milk when reheating to loosen to desired consistency.