Orzo “risotto” with asparagus, tomatoes, and cheese

Total Time
20 min
5 min
15 min
Be sure to use a good quality, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, in this orzo recipe. It really makes all the difference. Chockfull of asparagus, onions, and tomatoes, plus two different kinds of cheese (Parmesan and ricotta), this hearty, beautiful-looking weeknight meal is full of flavor surprises. Lots of fresh basil at the end ties it all together.


Uncooked orzo

1 cup(s)

Uncooked asparagus

1 pound(s), fresh, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil

1 Tbsp

Uncooked onion(s)

1 medium, chopped


3 medium clove(s), minced

Plum tomato(es)

2 medium, chopped

Fat-free ricotta cheese

1 cup(s)

Grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup(s)


¼ cup(s), fresh, coarsely chopped

Table salt

½ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground


  1. Cook the orzo according to package directions, adding the asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until the onion is slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved orzo and asparagus and heat through, about 2 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, the basil, salt, and pepper. Yields 1 1⁄4 cups per serving.