Creamy orzo pasta, fresh asparagus, crispy bacon, caramelized shallots. All of my favorite things rolled into one delicious side dish. This one pot orzo, bacon and asparagus makes the perfect side dish to pair with any protein; chicken, beef and seafood all work beautifully alongside this one-pot dish.
What you’ll need to make this recipe
The simplest list of ingredients, but you’ll be surprised by the flavor they bring to this dish. This is a great side dish, so I recommend serving it with something light and easy to make, like grilled chicken or shrimp. For this recipe, I typically use the chicken marinade from my grilled bruschetta chicken recipe. As the orzo cooks on its own in one pot, you can quickly grill up a protein for the side, and dinner will be done in a flash.
Is orzo pasta or rice?
Orzo is rice-shaped pasta. It has the texture of pasta, not rice, and it is creamy and delicious once cooked. Orzo holds onto whatever flavors you pair it with, and makes for a great pasta salad also.
If you are interested in using up the rest of the orzo box after this recipe, check out my orzo salad with tomatoes and feta.
I have not tried this recipe with any other pasta varieties, but if you are having trouble finding orzo at your local store, you can give other varieties of small pasta a try for this.
How to make one pot orzo, bacon, and asparagus
Pre-cooking the asparagus
First, let’s get to work on the asparagus. After you wash the asparagus, trim off the woody ends; I typically trim off a good 1-2″ from the bottom. Then, chop the asparagus into 1″ pieces (think: bite-sized).
Next, the orzo has to be steamed. To make this easier than getting another pot on the stove, I just add the cut asparagus to a small bowl and add a few tablespoons of water to it. I then cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave it for five minutes.
After five minutes, the asparagus should be tender (microwaves will vary, so just check on yours); remove the bowl from the microwave and set it aside, still covered, until it cools for later.
Cooking the bacon, shallots and onion
Next, let’s get to work on the rest of the ingredients. Chop the bacon, slice the shallots, and mince the garlic.
Add the chopped bacon to a saucepan, and turn the heat on to medium. Cook the bacon for ten minutes. After ten minutes, leave the bacon grease in the pot, and then add the shallots. Cook the shallots for another five minutes. Next, add the minced garlic to the pot and cook for one minute, or until fragrant.
Cooking the orzo and putting it all together
Next, add the uncooked orzo to the pan, and toss it around with the other ingredients to get slightly toasty. Then, add all of the chicken broth. Cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until the orzo is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed.
Then, toss in the cooked asparagus.
One Pot Orzo, Bacon and Asparagus
- sauce pan
- 4 slices center cut bacon
- 2 shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 oz orzo weighed dry, uncooked
- 1 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 1 bunch asparagus
- Wash the asparagus, trim off the rough ends (approximately 1-2" inches from the bottom).
- Chop the asparagus into 1" pieces.
- Add the asparagus into a small bowl and add a few tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Microwave the asparagus for approximately 5 minutes to steam.
- Remove the bowl from the microwave and set aside covered until ready to use later.
- Chop the bacon, slice the shallots, and mince the garlic.
- Measure out the orzo pasta (weighed uncooked).
- Add the chopped bacon to a saucepan, and turn the heat to medium.
- Cook the bacon for ten minutes,
- Keep the bacon and the bacon grease in the pot, and then add the sliced shallots.
- Cook the shallots for another 5 minutes, tossing it around with the grease while cooking.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for one minute or until fragrant,
- Add the dry orzo, and toss it around with the other ingredients for one minute.
- Add the broth, and stir the ingredients to combine.
- Cover the pot with a lid, and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook for 13-15 minutes (check after 13) or until the liquid is absorbed, and the orzo is tender.
- Add the asparagus to the cooked orzo mixture and toss to coat.
- Taste for seasoning (if you use reduced sodium chicken broth, you might need a pinch more salt).
- Blue and Green Plans:
- 4 WW points per 3/4 cup serving
- Purple Plan (using whole wheat orzo):
- 1 WW point per 3/4 cup serving