Orzo Risotto with Shrimp, Peas & Bacon

4.5 stars based on 41 votes
Tested & Perfected Recipes

Rice-shaped orzo is cooked like risotto in this easy, one-pot pasta dish.

In this easy one-pot recipe, rice-shaped orzo pasta is cooked like risotto, an Italian dish of rice slowly cooked in broth with other ingredients like meat, seafood, and vegetables. However, unlike traditional risotto, orzo “risotto” doesn’t require constant tending to and stirring – all of the broth is added at once and the pasta cooks almost unattended. My starting point for the recipe was a simple shrimp and orzo risotto from The Ultimate Meal Prep Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen, but I added crispy bacon, peas, and Creole seasoning to amp up the flavor and give the dish a little Southern flair.

What You’ll Need To Make Orzo Risotto with Shrimp, Peas & Bacon

orzo risotto ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat and add the bacon.

adding bacon to pot

Cook, stirring frequently, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
sizzling bacon

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion.

cooking onionsCook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Do not brown.

adding garlic

Stir in the orzo and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes.

toasting the orzo

Stir in the broth, salt, pepper, and Cajun/Creole seasoning and bring to a boil.
boiling broth

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring once midway through, until the orzo is creamy and nearly tender, about 10 minutes.

creamy orzo

Stir the shrimp and peas into the orzo.

adding shrimp and peas to the pot

Cover and cook over low heat until the shrimp are opaque throughout and the orzo is tender, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, the lemon juice, and chives. Right before serving, stir in the crispy bacon.

adding the bacon and chives

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, then spoon into bowls and serve.

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Orzo Risotto with Shrimp, Peas & Bacon

Rice-shaped orzo is cooked like risotto in this easy, one-pot pasta dish.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 5 slices (5 oz) bacon, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups orzo
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning, such as Emeril's Essence
  • 2 pounds extra-large (21/25) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (no need to thaw)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Instructions

  1. Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Do not brown. Stir in the orzo and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, salt, pepper, and Cajun/Creole seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring once midway through, until the orzo is nearly tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir the shrimp and peas into the orzo (it will be quite creamy/brothy at this point; that's normal). Cover and cook over low heat until the shrimp are opaque throughout and the orzo is tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, the lemon juice, and chives. Right before serving, stir in the crispy bacon. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, then spoon into bowls and serve.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 639
  • Fat: 26 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 50 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 49 g
  • Sodium: 1,868 mg
  • Cholesterol: 322 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I loved the heck out of this dish. I did alter it a bit to suit my own tastes.

    1. My pot of orzo required a much longer cooking time with the lid off to cook down to the consistency shown in the photo. I let it continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporated or absorbed.

    2. I sauteed my shrimp until just shy of done and added them right before serving. Fry about ~1 min on each side in 1 tbsp butter on medium (pan ~ 350 degrees). Splash in a little white wine at the end. Pour the sauce and all into the pan at the end.

    3. I splashed in a little heavy cream instead of butter at the end. Just my preference.

    4. I used Italian parsley in place of chives because I had no chives.

    5. Garnished the bowel with a little cheese at the end to mix in. I used cheddar. Will try parmesan next time. I think the parmesan would make the dish a bit stickier and more similar to real risotto.

    • — Brittany on September 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Would using spanish chorizo instead of bacon work??

    • — Anna on September 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, that should work. Please LMK how it turns out with the chorizo!

      • — Jenn on September 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • Just made this, and it’s very easy to make and so tasty! I didn’t have any Cajun seasoning so I just googled how to make my own and did that. Other than that, I made exactly as directed. Worked out great! Very filling, and good comfort food on this rainy day.

    • — Chris on August 22, 2021
    • Reply

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