Creamy Tomato Orzo

This recipe came from one of those nights that I didn’t want to go to the store, and with nothing in mind, I asked myself, What do we have on hand?

After some recon, this is what came up:

quick—create a recipe from these things!

I thought, Tomato Orzo with cheese and whatever else I can throw in? On it.

creamy Tomato Orzo

This dish is a great example of a pantry recipe—something that can be made with a few easy ingredients that you can keep on hand.

Don’t have capers? Throw in chopped olives or something similarly savoury and pickled. No orzo? No problem! Use any small-shaped pasta.

This recipe is forgiving, although your fellow diners won’t have to be when they bite into the melty, delicious, umami flavour of this dish. It’s fast, flexible, and forgiving—what more could you want?

Serves: 4, small servings


1/2 lb orzo, or other small pasta 

1/2 an onion (or 1 small onion), diced 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

few T tomato paste 

splash balsamic vinegar 

2-4 T fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, or other herbs, leaves picked and roughly chopped 

salt and freshly cracked black pepper 

handful Kalamata olives, chopped 

handful capers + 4 T capers 

1/2 bag Daiya mozzarella style shreds 

breadcrumbs for baking 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add orzo, cooking until al dente.

While pasta cooks, in a non-stick skillet, sauté the onion until softened. Add the garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomato paste and olives and stir well to combine. Add just a splash of balsamic vinegar and the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

When the orzo is done, drain and return to the pan. Add the tomato mixture, capers, and a handful of mozzarella shreds, reserving enough to cover the tops of four ramekins or baking equipment of your desire.

tomato mixture and capers on top of orzo…

Transfer orzo mixture to ramekins or other baking dish. Just cover with mozzarella shreds and to with breadcrumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden.

In a small non-stick skillet, heat a table spoon or so of oil. Add 4 T capers and fry. Optionally, you could deep fry them, but that seems like a lot of effort, doesn’t it?

When orzo mixture is baked, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Top with capers and serve.

a bite of creamy Tomato Orzo

Garnishes: fresh herbs or a sprinkle of pepper is really all that you need
Goes well with: a nice drinkable red, some crusty bread and oil, or a nice olive mix


  • Mmmm… This looks satisfying and delicious!!