Springtime Lemon Asparagus Orzo! Seasonal asparagus, green peas, fresh dill, zippy lemon, and creamy parmesan–all mixed up in garlicky, buttery orzo!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
I don’t really like asparagus that much.
It’s true! There are just so many ways it can go wrong. Either it’s too mushy (just NO). Or it’s woody and takes 10 years to chew. Or it’s bland. Or it’s served in long stalks that don’t fit in my mouth but also don’t cut well with a knife and it’s awkward and just DIFFICULT to eat.
So if I’m going to eat asparagus (and enjoy it), it’s got to be 1) in season, 2) cooked to just the right consistency, and 3) mixed up with all sorts of springtime goodness. This lemon asparagus orzo fits the bill.
How to make springtime lemon asparagus orzo
Let’s go through the essential components.
- Orzo. It’s pasta shaped like rice! Orzo seems fancy, but it’s easy to make. Just boil it in broth or water until the liquid is absorbed (use a ratio of one part orzo to two parts liquid). In this recipe, I toast it in butter first to make it extra yummy. Then it simmers in broth with all the veggies for a one-pot meal.
- Asparagus. It’s really only worth eating in the spring when it’s in season. Snap off the bottom inch or so of the stalk, which tends to be woody and no fun to eat. I like to slice my asparagus into diagonally shaped pieces, mostly because it looks cool.
- Peas. I use the frozen variety, which always seem to be in my freezer.
- Broth. Simmering the orzo in broth adds a lot more flavor than water. I use homemade chicken broth, because that’s what’s in my freezer. You can use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian.
- Fresh dill. Is there anything fresher than fresh dill? It’s just so happy and refreshing and SPRINGY.
- Parmesan cheese. Oh parmesan cheese, I love you so much. What more is there to say about it? It adds saltiness and creaminess and savoriness and perfection to this dish (and every dish).
- Lemon. Yay lemons! Lemon juice brightens this recipe and makes it sing springtime.
Once you’ve gathered all the pieces, Springtime Lemon Asparagus Orzo is really simple to put together. After toasting the orzo in butter, you just toss your veggies right in the same pan and simmer everything together in broth. Then turn off the heat and stir in the dill, parmesan, and lemon. Done!
Happy spring, folks! Hope you’re finding ways to enjoy it (at a safe distance from others).
Springtime Lemon Asparagus Orzo
- 1 cup orzo
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups chicken or veggie broth
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup fresh dill chopped
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- juice of 2 lemons
- Snap the woody ends off the asparagus (the bottom inch or so of the stalk) and discard, then cut the asparagus diagonally into 1½-inch pieces. Peel and mince garlic. Chop the dill.
- Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Toast orzo in the pan in a single layer for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
- Once the orzo is toasted, add minced garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add asparagus, peas, salt, and pepper to the frying pan and stir until combined.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat. Stir in dill, parmesan, and lemon juice.
- I use homemade chicken broth with no salt added. If you’re using store-bought broth, you may want to consider reducing the amount of salt you add to this dish. Start with just a little and add more to taste.