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Creamy Ground Beef Orzo

A 30-minute dinner that everyone’s happy about.

I have made a version of this dish at least 101 times, maybe more. It’s a dinner I turn to when I need something I know the whole family will eat but maybe I didn’t take any time to plan ahead. Sometimes it’s with elbow macaroni, sometimes with shells, but it’s always a one-pot wonder that comes together in thirty minutes and features plenty of creamy, tomatoey comfort. (In other words, a true crowd pleaser.) Here, it’s with orzo, which cooks a little quicker and somehow feels even more comforting.

There isn’t a lot that goes into this, just a few simple ingredients and a great one-pot method. You’ll start by browning ground beef and onion and then dressing that up with some tomato paste, garlic, and Italian seasoning.

The orzo cooks right in the sauce in the pot, which is a mixture of tomato sauce, cream, and broth, but there’s a little bit of magic that happens. As the orzo cooks, it releases some of its starch and that goes right into the sauce, giving it a creaminess that cream alone just can’t do. Try to keep things at a low simmer, if you go up to a full boil, the liquid will cook off before the pasta is done. (But if that happens, just ladle in some more liquid, no problem.)

All that’s left to do is stir in a little parmesan and let the pot sit off the heat (covered) for about five minutes. I find that helps to let any excess liquid reabsorb, helps the cheese to melt in seamlessly, and makes this whole dish even creamier. Enjoy!

Serves 4

10m prep time

20m cook time

Rated 3.8 out of 5
Rated by 16 reviewers

Allergens: Gluten, Milk

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. To a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, Add the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper and lightly break up the ground beef, but then let brown about 5 minutes without stirring.
  2. Add onion and continue cooking, now breaking up the ground beef as it cooks, until beef is cooked through and onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and Italian seasoning and stir in tomato paste. Let cook until fragrant and tomato paste color deepens, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in orzo, tomato sauce, broth, and heavy cream. Bring to a low boil, then continue cooking until orzo is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir often while cooking, and reduce heat if boiling too vigorously.
  5. Remove pot from heat, then stir in Parmesan and parsley, if using. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Stir, season to taste, and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Serving Dumplings.

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