Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

Servings: 4

Prep time: 25 Minutes


  • 2 medium / Zucchini (about 6 ounces each), diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large / yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup / extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp / red-pepper flakes, to taste, more as needed
  • 1 1/2 tsp / fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups / vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup / Orzo
  • 1 lemon, zested and halved
  • 1 cup / halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 5 oz / fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup / grated Parmesan (3 ounces), more for serving
  • 1/4 cup / finely chopped mint, more for serving
  • 1/2 cup / pesto, store-bought or homemade, more to taste


  1. In a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, combine the zucchini and onion with olive oil, the red-pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook the mixture, stirring once or twice, until the zucchini and onion turn golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Don’t stir too often, as it can impede browning.
  2. Stir in stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in orzo, lemon zest and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until orzo is nearly cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 14 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss together the tomatoes, mozzarella, a pinch of salt, a pinch of red-pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil, and let marinate while the orzo cooks.
  4. Once the orzo is ready, stir in the juice of ½ lemon, Parmesan, mint and pesto. Cover the pan, and cook for 1 minute, to finish cooking. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice or pesto, if needed. To serve, top with tomato-mozzarella mixture and sprinkle with more cheese and mint.