You will love this orzo pasta with tomatoes and parmesan! Savory sweet cherry tomatoes and lots of garlic mixed with tender orzo are baked in the oven with lots of parmesan cheese. The result is a dish that you can’t have enough of. This easy dinner recipe comes together in 45 minutes with just a handful of pantry staples.
Why this recipe sings
Summer tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil come together in this aromatic baked orzo pasta dish. The tomatoes are roasted in olive oil with lots of garlic cloves. Next, they are mixed with tender orzo pasta, and the dish is finished in the oven with lots of parmesan cheese.
This orzo pasta comes together in 45 minutes.
In Greece baked orzo with cheese is called giouvetsi. Usually it is made with chicken, lamb or beef in a tomato sauce with plenty of kefalotiri cheese. This orzo pasta recipe is a vegetarian version of giouvetsi.
This recipe is very adaptable, so make it your own. Roast other veggies such as eggplant and zucchini, switch the cheese to a salty pecorino, or mix it with creamy Boursin cheese.
Here is what you need
- Cherry tomatoes. Grape tomatoes will work just as well.
- Garlic head. Don’t be afraid of the quantity. When the whole cloves roast in olive oil, their flavor doesn’t have a bite. Instead, it is rich, sweet, and mellow.
- Parmesan cheese. In Greece, the traditional cheese for giouvetsi is kefalotiri. It tends to be salty, and due to being difficult to find in the US, I prefer parmesan cheese for its mild, nutty flavor. A good quality cheese makes all the difference. Avoid the grated parmesan stored in plastic containers found on supermarket shelves. Opt for getting a small block of cheese from the deli counter and grate it yourself.
- Chili peppers. They are optional. Add half a teaspoon of chili flakes to the tomatoes if not available.
- Orzo pasta. My favorite pasta after spaghetti. This recipe would also work with small short-cut pasta such as dittalini.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Sugar and sea salt. A level teaspoon of sugar is added to the tomatoes before roasting. It helps break any acidity and brings out the tomatoes’ sweetness.
How to make it
The tomatoes will have released a lot of liquid; please don’t discard it. The orzo will absorb it while the dish finished in the oven.
Note: This is an overview of the instructions. The full instructions are in the recipe card below.
This orzo pasta is perfect on its own. Serve it in bowls with fresh basil leaves and more grated cheese. Additionally, you can break fresh burrata mozzarella balls on top for creamy deliciousness.
Orzo Pasta With Tomatoes And Parmesan
- 1½ lb cherry tomatoes
- 1 garlic head
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-4 chili peppers optional
- 1 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 2 cups cooked orzo pasta about one cup raw orzo, 6 oz
- 1 teaspoon sugar level
- sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C.
- Wash and quickly dry the cherry tomatoes and chilies. Peel the garlic. Add all to a medium size baking pan with ¼ cup of olive oil, a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of sea salt. Add a few fresh basil leaves and a couple of chili peppers and toss to mix. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- While the tomatoes roast, follow the packet instructions and cook the orzo al dente.
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven. Discard the chilies and basil. Transfer the garlic cloves to a plate and mash them with a fork.
- Return the garlic to the baking pan. Add the cooked orzo. Add most of the parmesan cheese, and save some for the top. Mix well and sprinkle a generous amount of grated cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the top is bubbly and golden.