An Easy Recipe for Orzo with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes
*originally published on Sept. 7, 2018 | recipe + photos + post updated on August 18, 2021*
Easy weeknight dinners are always necessary, and this tomato and goat cheese orzo recipe with creamy, tangy goat cheese and savory roasted tomatoes is SO good. The entire recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes, and is ideal for two people for dinner (adding some grilled chicken and a side salad could round out the meal), or as a side dish for four.
Ingredients for this Tomato + Goat Cheese Orzo:
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 4 oz. creamy goat cheese (also called Chevre)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- about 1 cup of quartered tomatoes (cherry or Campari are my favorites)
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- handful of chopped basil + oregano (about 1 tbsp. each)
- pasta water
- 1/4 cup good parmesan cheese
- salt + pepper
Important Ingredient Notes & Recommendations:
- I recommend Campari tomatoes for this recipe, mainly because Campari tomatoes have lower acidity than typical tomatoes, and they also have a higher sugar level. They’re sweeter than other tomatoes, and they’re gorgeous in this recipe. However, we have a cherry tomato plant that is just BOOMING right now, so I used those when I reshot the photos for this recipe. They are also super delicious, and will absolutely work if you can’t find Campari tomatoes!
- I use the a plain, spreadable goat cheese for this recipe. I want to add the rich, tangy, natural goat cheese flavors with fresh herbs and tomatoes from our garden. If you want to use an herbed goat cheese instead, that absolutely works, too! You could omit the additional herbs from the recipe and make it even simpler, to be honest. I just love fresh herbs, so I want to use them as much as possible!
- You can use whole milk or half and half instead of heavy cream. You can also add more cream (or whatever you choose to use) if you like!
- Fresh herbs taste best, but you can use dried herbs. Fresh herbs have a pop of flavor that dried herbs don’t, but it’s not always convenient to have fresh herbs on hand. Use 1/3 of the amount the recipe calls for if you use dried herbs. For this recipe, use about 1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano and basil.
- Parmesan cheese from a little chunk is the best! If you can snag a little piece of parmesan from the store and grate it directly into the orzo, that’s the best option! Pre-grated parmesan is usable, but not as delicious. I don’t recommend using parmesan from a canister.
I love goat cheese. Like, LOVE it. It’s definitely underutilized in my house, because every time I cook with it I’m like “Why don’t I use this more often?!” Pairing goat cheese with tomatoes is heaven, and this orzo dish has a pop of fresh herbs for the final touch.
Steps for Making this Goat Cheese and Tomato Orzo Recipe:
- Boil orzo in salted water until al dente. Drain the orzo, reserving about a cup of pasta water. Mix the drained (hot) orzo with creamy goat cheese and a small pinch of salt until totally combined. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt, and cook until tomatoes just start blister and burst open, about five minutes. Stir in shallot, cook another 2-3 minutes until softened. Stir in garlic, and cook an additional minute.
- Stir in heavy cream, half of the fresh herbs, and a pinch of pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the cream thickens slightly. Stir in the goat cheese orzo until fully mixed into the tomato mixture. Slowly add at least 1/2 cup of pasta water, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed. (Add more if you want it to be creamier!)
- Turn off the heat from under the pan. Stir in the parmesan and remaining herbs. Serve warm!
More Quick Dinner Recipes:
- Creamy Cajun Pasta
- Turkey & Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Chicken Tostada Stacks
Wine Pairings for Goat Cheese + Tomato Orzo:
Easy Choice: Rosé (France / USA / Italy) :: Rosé is SO MUCH FUN to pair with food! If you’ve read my other wine pairings, you’ll know that I’m never talking about sweet, pink wine. I love grenache-based rosé from France, rosé made from Pinot Noir grapes in the U.S., or really any rosé made in a dry style that has a good amount of acidity. Look for a rosé from the Provence region in France, which you can easily find for around $10! Drink a glass by itself because it’s delicious, then pair it with this goat cheese orzo!
If You’re Feeling Adventurous: Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) :: Sauvignon Blanc is awesome, but it can be hard to pair with food. Luckily, goat cheese is an ideal candidate for taking on its bold acidity and citrus notes! Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand will punch you in the face with grapefruit-citrus-flavor and high acidity, and I love it. I’m a big fan of Greywacke for around $20, or Matua would work for under $15!
A Fun Splurge Option: Sancerre (France) :: Sancerre is a region in France that produces really, really delicious Sauvignon Blanc. The style is not nearly as bold as the Sauvignon Blanc that comes out of New Zealand, but it still carries a delicious acidity that makes it very, very food friendly. However, you can expect to spend over $20 for a good bottle. I love Reverdy La Reine, which runs around $25-30!
This goat cheese and tomato orzo is super easy, and so packed with flavor! I used a splash of heavy cream to add another creamy dimension, but everything else is light, flavorful, and packed with nutrients. I hope you love it, and if you do, I would love for you to rate and comment below! Be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see your insanely awesome orzo, and as always – if you run into any questions, please shoot me an email so I can try to help!
Tomato and Goat Cheese Orzo
- 1 cup dry orzo
- 4 oz. creamy goat cheese (chevre)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup Campari or Cherry tomatoes
- 1 small shallot thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh Oregano
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
- salt + pepper to taste
- 2 lemon wedges
- Boil the orzo in salted water until al dente, based on box directions. (About 7-8 minutes.) Drain the orzo, reserving one cup of pasta water. Mix cooked orzo with creamy goat cheese and set aside.
- If using Campari tomatoes, cut them into quarters. If using cherry tomatoes, cut them in half. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until tomatoes start to blister.
- Turn the heat down to medium. Stir in sliced shallots, and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in heavy cream, half of the chopped herbs, and a pinch of pepper. Cook until the cream thickens slightly, about 2-3 minutes.
- Spoon the goat cheese orzo directly into the pan, and add 1/4 cup of pasta water. Stir to mix it in completely with the tomato sauce, continually adding a splash of pasta water until it is as creamy as you like it. (I usually use about 1/2 cup of pasta water.)
- Turn off the heat from under the pan, and stir in the parmesan, remaining chopped herb, and the juice from the lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper to taste.