Meatballs and orzo cooked in a rich and delicious tomato sauce. It’s easy to make and loaded with flavour. This one-pot dinner will blow you away big time. It hits all the notes, it’s fun to make, intriguing and it tastes freaking delicious.
The preparation needed for this dish is quite simple. Instead of boiling the orzo, we cook it directly in the pan in a deep and rich tomato sauce. The sauce is made with a base of pureed tomatoes, chicken stock and leftover fat from the meatballs.
We also add tomato paste and Parmesan to really deepen the flavor and bring out the best in the meatballs. When we cook the orzo in this sauce, the starch will not only emulsify the fats, but also turn the sauce slightly smooth and we’ll end up with a unique textural result. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and lots of parmesan to finish.
Let me guide you through the recipe with this step-by-step VIDEO.
- for the meatballs, I used a combo of ground pork and veal, but you can use ground chicken, beef or pork
- use rice instead of orzo
- instead of pureed tomatoes, use crushed tomatoes or tomato passata (in Europe)
- add roasted bell pepper instead of cherry tomatoes
- serve with a simple side salad drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- meatballs should be moist and unbelievably tender, so don’t overmix them by handling your meat as little as possible. Put everything into a bowl, and use your hands to carefully and gently mix herbs, egg yolk and breadcrumbs into the meat
More meatballs, please!
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- 200 g (7 oz) orzo
- 250 (8.8 oz) cherry tomatoes
- 1 can (400 g/15 oz) tomato puree
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 140 g (4.9 oz) tomato paste
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 40 g (1.4 oz) grated Parmesan, more for serving
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley, more for serving
- seasoning: 1 tsp each: black pepper, dried oregano, sweet paprika, red pepper flakes
- salt, to taste
- 500 g (17.6 oz) ground meat, I used 70% pork with 30% veal
- 1/2 tsp each: salt, black pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Mix until just combined, using your hands. Roll the meat into 2 tablespoon-size balls.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat butter and 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes or until they’re cooked through, turning them 2-3 times. Add tomatoes, cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they start to burst. Transfer to a plate, leaving as much fat in the skillet as possible.
- In the same skillet, add the remaining oil and onion. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with 2 tbsp broth, and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to release the brown bits. Add seasoning and stir in tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Add orzo and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
- Pour chicken broth, stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add tomato puree, give it a good stir, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes or until orzo is al dente. Stir from time to time.
- Stir in the parsley and Parmesan. Then slide the meatballs and cherry tomatoes back into the skillet. Cover, lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust salt.
- Spoon the orzo and meatballs into bowls, top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and more chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Calories Per Serving: 401 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.