A one-skillet meal is often the best possible combination of convenience and comfort food, and this cheesy chicken and orzo dish is no exception. The orzo is cooked and bound with a creamy sauce, kind of like a risotto, only with pasta instead of rice.
(Rice-shaped orzo is such a great pasta to use as a supporting pasta in a dish. It’s also great in soups, giving them body and a bit of chew.)
And what makes this cheesy orzo so damn fine….a mixture of gouda and Butterkase cheeses. Gouda is a mellow and mild and slightly sweet Dutch cheese, but the Roth version is made right here in the USA in Wisconsin.
It melts like a dream, as does the Butterkase, which is a super mild and buttery (as its name suggests) cheese, adding great silkiness to the saucy pasta.
Both cheeses also pair so well with fruit, dried or fresh, so think about adding them to your next cheese platter., and then toss on some nuts, cornichons pickles, and slices of a few different kinds of bread to mix and match.
This is just the kind of dish to serve up on a cold night, easy enough to make on a weeknight. You can either buy thin sliced chicken cutlets at the supermarket or at the butcher counter, or slice them thinly yourself with a sharp chef’s knife.
You can just pair this with a salad, though the dish also has a nice hit of vitamin-packed greens thanks to the chopped kale. If you can find baby kale, just use regular kale, but make sure you cut out the tough stems before chopping it.
Many kinds of beer and white wine will pair beautifully with this dish. For beer, try a bock ale, and for wine, a Reisling would be lovely. Maybe a glass of cider for the kiddos.
I am so pleased to be working with Roth cheese, a Swiss-inspired family of cheeses created in Wisconsin, on this series of posts.
One Skillet Chicken with Cheesy Orzo and Baby Kale
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 ½ pounds thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
- 2 large shallots chopped
- 1 ½ cups dried orzo
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup half-and-half
- ½ cup grated Roth Gouda cheese
- ½ cup grated Roth Butterkase cheese
- 2 cups roughly chopped baby kale
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
- In a very large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned and just barely pink in the center. Do this in batches if needed, and remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Return the skillet to medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and when it’s hot add the shallots, and sauté for 2 minutes until they start to become tender. Add the orzo and stir for another minute until the orzo is nicely coated with the oil and shallots. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in the half-and half and return to a simmer. Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer gently for 8 or so minutes, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is almost – but not quite – tender and much of the liquid has been absorbed – it should still be very runny though, with actual liquid still left in the pan.
- Sprinkle in the Gouda and Butterkase cheeses in batches, stirring after each addition until the cheese is all melted. Stir in the oregano and baby kale, then tuck the browned chicken into the orzo mixture, and drizzle over any juices that have accumulated from the chicken. Cover the pan and simmer for another 3 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked and the orzo is tender. The orzo will still be saucy and loose.
- Serve the chicken and orzo hot from the pan. It’s going to thicken and firm up as it cools, so don’t be worried if it seems saucy at first.
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