Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Red Pepper

Another great recipe from a friend's blog! Sarah is a great cook with an awesome recipe blog. I always know her recipes will be tasty and easy to follow. (For this reason I copied and pasted her directions exactly.) This creamy pasta is light and fresh and perfect for Spring. It tasted healthy but still so flavorful. We loved this and will definitely be making it again!

Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Red Pepper

1 lb. orzo pasta
1 cup reserved pasta water
1 T. olive oil
2 medium chicken breasts (1-1.5 lbs.), cut into chunks
8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat cream cheese or Neufchatel)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
juice of 1 lemon (don't skip this! soo good)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions until tender. When the orzo is ready, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the orzo and set aside.

While the orzo cooks, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot oil and brown on all sides. When nicely browned (but not quite all the way cooked through), add the peppers, mushrooms, asparagus and thyme. Stir and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms and peppers have softened and browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

In the skillet over medium heat, add the softened cream cheese (I didn't soften; no big deal) in bite sized chunks and stir so that the cream cheese melts and coats the chicken and vegetables. Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir. Add the orzo, Parmesan, lemon juice and fresh parsley. Stir to combine and heat through. Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley.

It will be very creamy, so I found it best to serve this in bowls. Serves 6-8.

Recipe from friend and amazing cook Sarah. Check out her recipe blog, she is seriously an amazing cook!


  1. I am so making this! I saw it on her blog and I'm making it next week.

  2. this will be our dinner tonight. yum!