Creamy pasta is my go-to comfort food at the best of times, but when it’s as easy as this recipe and made in one pan, it takes on a new level of amazing! This Creamy Lemon Chicken Risoni (Orzo) requires very little preparation, but is incredibly delicious to eat. It cooks quickly and easily in the one pan making it the perfect family dinner for busy weeknights when you don’t feel like spending too much time in the kitchen!

Creamy Lemon Chicken Risoni Orzo

Risoni (or orzo) are small, oval-shaped pasta that take on a risotto-like texture and taste in this recipe. The dish is loaded with delicious lemon-garlic flavours and then finished with lashings of Parmesan cheese. I add spinach in the last few minutes of cooking because it requires no chopping, but don’t feel limited by this. Any vegetables of choice can be added directly to the pan just after the butter. Think asparagus, peas, broccoli or green beans. Once prepared, the dish can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated ready for when you need it!

Make sure you check out my One Pot recipes for more ideas!

How to perfectly cook one pan pasta?

To make a one-pan pasta dish (where the pasta is cooked in the pan), it’s important that you use a heavy-based piece of cookware such as a heavy-based casserole dish (cast iron) or a thick-based, deep frying pan. Thin cookware will not heat evenly and may leave you with too much or too little liquid. The liquid needs to be simmering the entire time (gently with small bubbles). If it isn’t, modify the heat by turning it up or down slightly to maintain that simmer.

Can chicken thigh fillets be used?

Yes! I often prefer to make Creamy Lemon Chicken Risoni (Orzo) with chicken thigh fillets as I find them more juicy. Modify the chicken cooking time to 10-12 minutes, as chicken thighs can take a little longer to cook.

Customise your pasta

Customise the pasta by adding in your vegetables of choice right after step 3, when you remove the chicken from the pan. Add-in ideas include finely chopped semi-dried tomatoes, sliced asparagus, sliced green beans, peas, roughly chopped broccolini, finely sliced mushrooms, shedded kale or diced zucchini. Make sure you check out the recipe notes for how!

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Creamy Lemon Chicken Risoni Orzo

Creamy Lemon Chicken Risoni (Orzo)

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5 from 24 reviews

This One Pan Creamy Lemon Chicken Risoni (also known as Orzo), comes together in less than 20 minutes, all in the one pan with minimal prep and wash-up! It’s comforting, delicious and makes the perfect weeknight meal.

  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts, halved lengthwise to make 4 schnitzels
  • 1 tsp garlic, freshly minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lemon, cut into slices

Risoni

  • 1 cup (200 g) risoni/orzo (uncooked)
  • 2 cups (475 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 cup (240 ml) thickened/heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups (60 g) baby spinach leaves (see note 1 for substitutions) 
  • 1 cup (100 g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for garnish
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lemon balm or freshly chopped parsley, for garnish, optional 

Instructions

  1. In a shallow dish, combine the chicken with the garlic, oregano, paprika, onion powder, olive oil, salt and pepper. Use your hands if needed to ensure the chicken is evenly coated in the marinade.
  2. Heat a large, deep pan over medium-high heat and cook the chicken for 8-10 minutes or until just cooked through. 
  3. Add the butter and scatter the lemon slices around the chicken in the last 2 minutes of cooking to caramelise (the juices will release in the pan and create a beautiful flavour). Set the chicken and caramelised lemon slices aside on a plate.
  4. To the same pan, add the risoni, chicken stock, thickened cream, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  5. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low so that it is bubbling gently. Cook for 10-12 minutes, uncovered, stirring regularly (see note 2 below for tips).
  6. Turn the heat off and remove the pan from the heat. Stir the spinach leaves and Parmesan cheese through the risoni. Season with pepper and salt to taste. Cover and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes (see note 3). 
  7. Serve the risoni topped with the cooked chicken (slice if desired). Top with the caramelised lemon slices before serving and garnish with lemon balm or parsley if using. 

Notes

Note 1 – This recipe can be loaded with vegetables to suit your family’s tastes. You can use up to two cups of additional vegetables. Frozen peas, sliced asparagus, sliced green beans, sliced mushrooms, diced zucchini, finely chopped broccoli, shredded kale or finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes would all work well. Add the vegetables after step 3 in the recipe (once the chicken has been removed from the pan). Cook the vegetables for 3-5 minutes until softened (add more oil if required) before proceeding with the remainder of the recipe. Cut the vegetables into small pieces as it will make the overall texture of the dish even more enjoyable. 

Note 2 – To make a one-pan pasta dish (where the pasta is cooked in the pan), it’s important that you use a heavy-based piece of cookware such as a heavy-based casserole dish (cast iron) or a thick-based, deep frying pan. Thin cookware will not heat evenly and may leave you with too much or too little liquid. The liquid needs to be simmering the entire time (gently with small bubbles) so that the pasta cooks through. If it isn’t, modify the heat by turning it up or down slightly to maintain that simmer. 

Note 3 – If you feel the risoni is too stiff (it’s not saucy and is clumping together more than what you would like), simply add 1-2 tablespoons at a time of boiling water from the kettle, stirring the sauce rapidly. This will loosen the mixture. 

MAKE AHEAD

Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Not suitable to freeze. 

LEFTOVERS

Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Not suitable to freeze. 

Source – Recipe inspired by One Skillet Lemon Butter Chicken and Orzo from Half Baked Harvest which you can view here.  

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes