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Creamy Orzo with Spinach

I don’t want to think about it right now, but I know it’s coming soon: the way the pace of life picks back up again in the fall.

Sure, I stay busy in the summer with work (including fun projects like Kitchen Conversations and visiting BlogHer’13!), gardening, my grandson, travel and other fun things. But there’s something about the longer days that makes it feel like we’ve got more hours to play.

When Labor Day rolls around, it’s time to get back to real life, whether that means back to school or just back to a new rhythm. Our latest conversation with our blogger friends is about getting back to the basics in the kitchen.

One of my absolute favorite go-to recipes for a busy weeknight dinner is this Creamy Orzo with Spinach. I use ingredients that I almost always have on hand, and can have it on the table in less than half an hour. In fact, I even make it for company — and I have been asked for the recipe every time.

It works as a side dish, but all you have to do is add cooked chicken, shrimp or pork, and you have a complete meal. And, don’t tell the kids, but it’s packed with spinach. Even kids who are usually suspicious of dark green stuff will ask for seconds.

But what’s really special about this dish is the amazing aroma when you cook the garlic in the Butter with Olive Oil and Sea Salt. There’s just something about that combination of flavors.

Creamy Orzo With Spinach

15 min. prep time

25 min. total time

4 servings


8 ounces (1 1/4 cups) uncooked dried orzo pasta

1 Half Stick of Land O Lakes® Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt (1/4 cup)

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh garlic

1 (6-ounce) package (6 cups) fresh spinach, stems removed

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest


Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return to pan; keep warm.

Melt 2 tablespoons Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt in 10-inch skillet until sizzling. Add garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt and 1 cup Parmesan cheese to cooked pasta in pan; stir until combined. Add cooked spinach, tomatoes and lemon zest; mix well. Spoon mixture into serving dish; top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


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Posted Nov 23 2015 by SHERRY
Test Kitchen Comment


Hi Sherry, if you were to triple this recipe, we would suggest tripling every ingredient except the garlic and lemon zest - it could become to overpowering. If you triple the recipe, only add 2 teaspoons of garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Hope this helps!
Posted December 01, 2015

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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.

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