This one-pan creamy Tuscan chicken orzo is an easy and filling weeknight dinner that comes together in about 30 minutes! With pan-seared chicken breasts, orzo pasta, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and fresh basil in a creamy sauce, it'll be your new favorite Italian-inspired meal!
What is Tuscan Chicken?
Tuscan chicken is an Italian American dish inspired by the light, flavorful cooking style of the Tuscany region in Northern Italy. Tuscan chicken usually contains chicken in a creamy sauce with spinach and sundried tomatoes. Topped with basil and parmesan, it has all the Italian flavors we know and love!
Tuscan chicken is often served over pasta, so I decided to skip a step and make this Tuscan chicken orzo!
This orzo is:
- A quick and easy 30 minute meal
- You just need one-pot (aka minimal dishes)
- Light, but filling main course!
- Orzo - Orzo is a small, oval shaped pasta that looks similar to rice. Use a high-quality die cut pasta like Delallo or De Cecco for the yummiest results!
- Chicken - I prefer chicken breasts but this recipe would also be great with boneless, skinless chicken thighs!
- Sundried tomatoes - Use sundried tomatoes packed in oil for the best flavor! I love the Trader Joe's brand!
- Fresh spinach - I prefer using fresh spinach and adding it into the orzo right at the end. But you could also substitute 1 cup of thawed, frozen spinach and add it in while the orzo is cooking.
- Heavy cream - Use cream for a rich creamy sauce or half & half for a slightly lighter version.
- Dijon mustard - This is optional, but adds some great extra flavor to the orzo!
- White cooking wine - This is optional but adds some great flavor to your orzo! I always keep cheap, dry white wine on hand that I use for cooking. It’s amazing how much flavor a $3 bottle of sauvignon blanc can add to a dish!
- Vegetable stock - I always use my homemade vegetable stock when I make cook for the best flavor!! You can also use store bought vegetable stock, chicken stock, or even water.
- Shallot - The mild flavor of shallots are perfect for this light orzo dish. But you could also use a small yellow onion instead.
- Fresh herbs - Italian herbs like thyme, basil, and oregano add amazing flavor to this dish! You can substitute a dried Italian seasoning blend if that's all you have, but I highly recommend fresh herbs!
- Lemon juice - A little fresh lemon juice helps add some brightness to the Tuscan chicken orzo.
- Red pepper flakes - Totally optional, but great for adding just a little bit of heat!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
How to Make Tuscan Chicken Orzo
Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that they're thinner and cook more quickly. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Add in the butter, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and aromatic.
Then add in the sundried tomatoes and dry orzo and toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Then add in the white wine to de-glaze the pan and make sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
Stir in the Dijon mustard, fresh thyme, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Place the chicken breasts back in the pan. Then cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until both the orzo and chicken are fully cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Make sure the chicken is fully cooked by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part. It should read at least 165°F.
Remove the chicken breasts and thinly slice.
Then stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, spinach, and lemon juice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Top with the sliced chicken breasts and garnish the Tuscan chicken orzo with fresh basil!
This orzo is best eaten the same day, but will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The orzo will soak up the sauce in the fridge, so it's best to reheat on the stove with a little extra broth or cream to add more moisture.
Yes, but it will be a lot less flavorful. You can also substitute chicken broth!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Creamy Tuscan Chicken Orzo
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups orzo
- ½ cup white cooking wine
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard , optional
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 3 cups vegetable stock, substitute chicken stock or water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 cups fresh spinach, substitute 1 cup frozen spinach
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that they're thinner and cook more quickly. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet or cast iron, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken breasts for 1-2 minutes on each side. Then remove and set aside.
- Add in the butter, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and aromatic.
- Then add in the sundried tomatoes and dry orzo and toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Then add in the white wine to de-glaze the pan and make sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the Dijon mustard, fresh thyme, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Place the chicken breasts back in the pan. Then cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes (stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan) until both the orzo and chicken are fully cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove the chicken breasts and thinly slice.
- Then stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, spinach, basil, and lemon juice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Top with the sliced chicken breasts and garnish with fresh basil!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.