Lemon Asparagus Orzo

Delight the pasta lovers at your table with this flavorful side, made with simple, fresh ingredients. We crafted the recipe with risotto in mind—creamy and rich with the flavor of broth and butter—but orzo plumps up in half the time it takes for arborio rice to fully cook.




4 servings




  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2⅔ cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces dry orzo pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon zest, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  • 1

    Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

  • 2

    Stir in orzo, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ tsp pepper and return to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring once, for 8 minutes.

  • 3

    Stir in asparagus and simmer for another 2 minutes, until orzo is al dente and asparagus is crisp-tender, adding a splash more stock if needed.

  • 4

    Remove from heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and parmesan, stirring until butter is melted and a thin sauce coats the pasta. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and serve.

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