Saucy Italian Orzo

Part of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to actually start actively cooking from the myriad of cooking magazines and cookbooks I own.  This will necessitate some advance menu planning to make sure I have the necessary ingredients (which is the primary reason I don’t tend to cook things despite the oodles of sticky flags marking “oo that looks interesting).  To kick off this resolution, I made a variation of Sauce Italian Orzo from Taste of Home’s Simple and Delicious (Jan/Feb 2010 issue, page 12).  I had to change it up a bit because hubby is definitely not a fan of cooked spinach.  So I traded out for mushrooms and roasted red peppers to create a dish that I really enjoyed.  Hubby wasn’t nuts and declared it too tomato heavy, but we’ve decided he simply isn’t a fan of seriously tomato-based sauces.  In any event, this makes 6 servings at 300 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving, which makes this a dieters delight (Note: The calories and fat are calculated without the addition of any sort of cheese for garnish).


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes (original recipe calls for 2-14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic)
  • 2 cups beef broth (original recipe calls for 1 14.5 oz. can of beef broth, but I buy the quarts and I used more orzo)
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (original recipe calls for 1 but my tomatoes weren’t seasoned)
  • 1 teaspooon garlic powder (my addition)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, diced


  1. Brown, drain and rinse the beef.  The original recipe calls for cooking the onions and garlic in with the beef, but I prefer to remove as much of the fat as possible.
  2. Add back to Dutch oven and add the onions and garlic, sauteing briefly.
  3. Add the peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, orzo, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.  Stir until well combined.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Printable version.

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