I love orzo pasta. It seems that any time I make something that contains orzo it instantly is transformed into a comfort dish that will be a repeat. My son was convinced that I was making pizza as dinner approached – and he didn’t believe me when I told him I was making chicken. It did smell like pizza. The scent of oregano, and tomatoes wafted through the air.
I found this recipe in Cook’s Country Magazine April/May 2010 issue (30 Minute Supper card). I increased the amounts to accommodate my family of 5. In the end I had a large amount left over because the chicken breasts that I used were twice the size of the usual. It was yummy with just a little kick of spice. The orzo is dry roasted until slightly browned. Then the chicken breasts are browned and then finished in a simmer with the Orzo and tomatoes. You do not need to heat up your oven – if you skillet with fit everything. My skillet only had room for 3 of the giant chicken breasts, so I transferred them to a baking dish and did cook them in the oven, but only because the chicken pieces were so large. I should have split them and used just three. So if you are cooking this for a larger group you can bake them in the oven covered with foil (I had the temperature at 350 and baked them for 25-30 minutes).
Skillet Italian Chicken with Orzo
adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine April/May 2010 (Recipe card)
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (try to get small ones)
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1 /2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp (each) salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups orzo (I like Barilla brand)
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
shredded Parmesan cheese for serving
Dry the chicken breast halves with paper towels.
Combine the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle each chicken breast half with the mixture on both sides. (Use less red pepper flakes if you don’t like it with much kick).
Toast the orzo pasta in a large non stick skillet about 3-5 minutes shaking the pan from time to time until the orzo is golden brown. Remove the orzo and set aside for later use.
Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in the pan and heat over high heat until the oil is shimmering. Cook the chicken breast halves for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Pour remaining oil in the skillet and add the garlic, stirring for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes (with their juices), chicken broth, and toasted orzo pasta and bring the mixture to a boil. Top the pasta with the chicken breasts and any juices from the plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook over medium-low for about 10 to 15 minutes until the pasta is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Top each serving with basil and shredded Parmesan cheese.