Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto

Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto

Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto with asparagus and sweet peas. It is reach and decadent yet fresh and light at the same time thanks to lemon and herbs.

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Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto

Orzotto & Orzo Risotto

Hello everyone! I hope you’re doing well.

Today I am bringing something utterly delicious, this Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto. Of course, I could have used the word “orzotto” instead as it’s so poetic! However, orzotto is an Italian dish made with pearl barley (Please let me know if I’m wrong). Confusing, right? By the way, I also have a barley risotto on my blog – this Wild Mushroom Barley Risotto. If you are interested in more orzo ideas, you can check this One-Pot Chicken Mushroom Orzo.

This orzo risotto, as you can assume has a consistency of traditional risotto. It’s delightfully rich and buttery. Also, you will be adding the liquid gradually, to allow the orzo to absorb it before adding more. Best part? You will need only one pan! The only one real difference from rice risotto is that orzo requires a bit less of the cooking time.

Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto

While this dish is incredibly rich and decadent thanks to butter and parmesan, it is also refreshing and light at the same time. Green peas and asparagus are perfect spring vegetables, and the addition of lemon and herbs lighten up it a lot. Thyme, mint, and oregano would be some great options. Certainly, you can make it even lighter by using water instead of broth or using the combination of both.

This is a pretty large pan enough probably for 4 quite hungry people, but no worries if you have any leftovers. That will be so good the next day for your lunch. Just preheat it over low-medium heat in a pan for a few minutes (or use a microwave.)

I hope you like this Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto, and you will give it a try. If you do, please let me know in your comments or via a message on my Instagram or hashtag #havocinthekitchen. Cheers for now!

Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto
Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto

Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto

Recipe by Ben | HavocinthekitchenCourse: Main


Prep time


Cooking time



Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto with asparagus and sweet peas. It is reach and decadent yet fresh and light at the same time thanks to lemon and herbs.


  • 3-4 tbsp. butter, divided

  • 1 and 1/2 cup orzo

  • 1 small shallot, chopped

  • ~ 3 and 1/2 to 5 cups hot liquid (low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth or water)* See notes

  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)

  • ~ 1,5 cups of frozen green peas (thawed – you can quickly do this by placing the peas into hot water for 2-3 minutes then draining.)

  • a small bunch of asparagus (about 10-12 stalks)

  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or other herbs of your choice like oregano or mint)

  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest

  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • ~ 1/2 grated parmesan


  • Melt 1,5 tbsp. of butter over low-medium heat and sauté the shallots and garlic (if using), for few minutes, until soft.
  • Increase heat to medium. Stir in the orzo and toast for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in about 2/3 cup of broth or water along with the thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper (Don’t add too much of the salt at once – it’s better to adjust later.) Let the orzo absorb most of the liquid before adding another 1/2 cup or so (It will take less than two minutes to absorb it.)
  • Cook the orzo, adding more liquid as needed, for about 7 minutes then stir in the frozen green peas and asparagus cut into few pieces (discard the woody parts). I also had a few snap peas, so I added them as well.
  • Keep cooking gradually adding the liquid, until al dente. Generally, steps 4 and 5 should take about 10-12 minutes. You might not need to use all the liquid, see the notes.
  • When the orzo is al dente, stir in the parmesan and remaining butter. Cook, stirring, until liquid is creamy, about 2 minutes. If orzo thickens up, add a bit of water or broth – you want the pasta to be creamy. Try again and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Turn off the heat, cover, and let stay few minutes before serving.
  • Serve with additional parmesan, fresh herbs and lemon zest. Enjoy!


  • Use less of the liquid for a drier, fluffier risotto. Use more liquid for a creamier, smoothie consistency.

32 thoughts on “Spring Vegetable Orzo Risotto

  1. Tasia ~ two sugar bugs says:

    Such beautiful photos for this lovely spring dish! I happen to use orzo for risotto quite often and peas and asparagus are veggies on heavy rotation, so I foresee this in my near future. Thanks for a great recipe!

  2. Frank says:

    Ben, you’re not wrong. Orzotto is indeed a barley dish from the Trentino, the name being a portmanteau of “orzo” (barley) and “risotto”. Actually, it can be either a kind of risotto made from barley or a thick soup.

    Having said that, since “orzo” is word for barley, an Italian would understand “orzo risotto” as simply meaning the same thing as “orzotto”. Funnily enough, the pasta shape called “orzo” in English has a different name in Italian: “risoni” or big rice. So in Italian this dish would be called something like risoni risottati con asparagi e piselli…

    So how’s that for confusion, lol!

    Anyway, nomenclature aside, the dish does look lovely. All those lovely spring vegetables. I’m a big fan of making small pasta like this in the risotto style.

    • Ben | Havocinthekitchen says:

      Oh thank you Frank for such a detailed clarification. Yeah terminology could be confusing. But personally, as long as the dish offers me some great flavours and textures, I am absolutely fine with not too accurate name :)

  3. Marissa says:

    I want to dive in and eat my way out of this gorgeous spring veggie bowl! Genius to use orzo in place of rice for a quick and light ‘risotto’!

  4. sherry says:

    this looks so fresh and tasty ben. we’re just about in winter here so maybe i’ll keep this recipe for Spring! it’s all about the stews and soups for us now.

  5. Michelle says:

    I have orzo in my pantry, but it’s always a forgotten staple! I will have to change that with this orzo risotto! It look so fresh and delicious!

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