One Pan Pesto Chicken and Orzo

4.94 from 16 votes
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One Pan Pesto Chicken and Orzo with a fresh tomato-basil topping: the ultimate weeknight dinner. Easy, flavorful, and guaranteed to be a family favorite!

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Pesto chicken and orzo in a black skillet topped with tomatoes and basil.

This recipe post is proudly sponsored by DeLallo. All opinions are my own.

Read more: One Pan Pesto Chicken and Orzo

Why You’ll Love this Pesto Chicken and Orzo

In an attempt to savor the end of summer, this recipe truly celebrates the best of the season.

While cherry tomatoes are as sweet as candy and herbs are at their punchy prime, we’re combining them in a streamlined, superbly delicious dinner.

You can’t beat a one-pan meal that delivers on both nutrition and flavor. The stars of this meal include pesto-marinated chicken, golden orzo pasta, salty-rich Parmigiano-Reggiano, and of course, the fresh tomato topper.

To cut back on ingredients and prep time, I look to DeLallo Simply Pesto, which bottles up fresh flavor with handpicked Ligurian basil and no additives or preservatives.

This pesto is a pantry staple in our home, and I have used it in a myriad of reader-favorite recipes, including this Pesto Tortellini Salad and Pesto Salmon.

Serve this Pesto Chicken and Orzo with a simple salad and you have a truly sensational summer dinner.

And if you love recipes like this, also check out my Harissa Shrimp and Orzo and Bruschetta Salmon Skillet.

Recipe Ingredients

Recipe ingredients arranged on a wooden platter with labels.
  • Chicken: You can boneless, skinless breasts or thighs in this recipe. Thighs are a little higher in fat, which makes them juicier and less likely to overcook.
  • DeLallo Orzo Pasta: Made in Italy with an exclusive blend of the highest quality durum wheat, this small-cut pasta is quick-cooking and super versatile. The production of DeLallo pasta observes older traditions, which preserves the pasta’s color, texture and aroma. You can truly taste the difference in quality!
  • DeLallo Simply Pesto: One of my favorite DeLallo products, and a staple in my cooking, this jarred pesto is fabulous in dressings and marinades, over pizza, or mixed into soup.
  • Onion: To give the dish an aromatic edge. You can use yellow or sweet onion, or shallots.
  • DeLallo Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Made from cold-pressed, hand-selected Italian olives, this oil offers beautifully balanced, fresh olive flavor. Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols, which offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Broth: You can use chicken, vegetable, or bone broth.
  • Tomatoes: I prefer using cherry tomatoes, however you can also use plum, beefsteak, or Heirloom tomatoes.
  • Basil: Fresh is best!
  • Garlic: You need about 1 teaspoon of fresh garlic, which amounts to 1 large clove.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano: For a salty-rich finish.

For a complete list of recipe ingredients and quantities, see the recipe card below.

Substitutions and Additions:

  • Use Shrimp: If you’re trying to up your seafood ante, use shrimp instead of chicken! Sauté the shrimp first, then add it back to the skillet once the orzo is cooked.
  • Make Spicy: Add 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes for a kick of spice.
  • Add Spinach: Sneak in some greens by adding 1 to 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach to the orzo mixture.
  • Make Dairy-Free: Simply omit the cheese and this recipe is dairy-free (and just as delicious!)
Skillet of pesto chicken and orzo next to a jar of DeLallo pesto.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Marinate Chicken in pesto, and let sit for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Cook Chicken on both sides for about 2 to 3 minutes, just until lightly golden.

Chicken breasts coated in pesto and cooked.

Step 3: Sauté Onion in a large skillet until soft. Stir in orzo, and cook 1 to 2 minutes to lightly toast.

Step 4: Add Broth and Pesto to pan, and nestle chicken back in. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook until orzo is al dente.

Orzo being added to skillet, along with broth, pesto, and chicken breasts.

Step 5: Prepare Tomato-Basil Topping by combining tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with a pinch of salt.

Cherry tomatoes being mixed with basil, garlic, and olive oil.

Step 6: Garnish Pesto Chicken and Orzo with Parmesan and tomato topping, and serve.

Chicken and orzo being topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serving Suggestions:

This recipe is meant to be enjoyed as a full meal, however I do love pairing it with a simple side salad. Here are a few of my favorites:

A white bowl filled with a single serving of pesto chicken, orzo, and tomatoes.

More Delicious One Pan Dinners:

If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review!

4.94 from 16 votes

One Pan Pesto Chicken and Orzo

One Pan Pesto Chicken and Orzo with a fresh tomato-basil topping: the ultimate weeknight dinner. Easy, flavorful, and guaranteed to be a family favorite!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Large skillet with fitted lid
  • Mixing bowls

Ingredients  

  • 1.25 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup DeLallo Simply Pesto, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. DeLallo Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups DeLallo orzo pasta
  • 2 1/2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
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Instructions 

  • Place chicken in a bowl and season evenly with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Add 1/4 cup pesto and turn to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, arrange chicken in pan and cook, undisturbed, for 3 minutes, until golden. Flip, and cook 1 to 2 more minutes; transfer chicken to a plate. (The chicken will finish cooking in the orzo – the only goal here is to get a nice golden sear.)
  • Add onion to pan and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in orzo and cook 1 to 2 minutes to lightly toast grains.
    Add broth, remaining 1/4 cup pesto, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil and nestle chicken back into pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid, stir, and continue cooking, uncovered, until all of the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is al dente, about 1 to 3 more minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare tomato-basil topping by combining cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, and remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with a pinch of salt.
  • Top chicken and orzo mixture with Parmigiano Reggiano, and spoon tomato-basil mixture overtop.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3 days.
  • Reheat: Rewarm individual portions in the microwave, or in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of water or broth to help rehydrate the orzo, as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken breast with 1 cup orzo and tomato mixture | Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 775mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
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4.94 from 16 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. Raeesa says:

    5 stars
    I made this today and it was so delicious and so easy to make! I had to adjust the recipe a little but I will definitely be making this again!

  2. d.Ann Crim says:

    5 stars
    Simple yet delicious. Love the idea of fresh tomatoes and basil topping.

  3. Yvonne Nickles says:

    5 stars
    Mad3 this on Friday. Super easy and REALLY delicious. Makes for great leftovers too!

  4. Brian Kaplan says:

    5 stars
    This was a winner at my house!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Brian! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  5. Heike Yates says:

    5 stars
    I’m a fan of this recipe and had never tried orzo before. The recipe needed more liquids to finish the Orzo and I didn’t add any salt. We loved it !

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Heike! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

  6. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    Sooo tasty (just like all of Jamie’s recipes). Appreciate the fresh flavors and the one-pot cleanup! I made extra tomato basil and look forward to that on some toast later

  7. Angie Wallace says:

    5 stars
    I’m a pesto lover….this was so easy and flavorful!! Thank you!

  8. Laura M. says:

    5 stars
    Tried it last night and it was delicious!! We used Kirkland pesto (our personal favorite) and chicken thighs instead of breasts. Served with homemade garlic bread!

  9. Jme says:

    Do you think shrimp or fish would work in this dish in place of chicken? Maybe cook it separately and add it at the end?

    1. Sue says:

      4 stars
      So delicious had tonight !!
      I used fresh basil,garlic, tomatoes from my garden. I didn’t have Orzo so I used penne pasta
      Definitely will make again.