One-Pan Basil Chicken Meatballs With “Orzotto”


Preparing dinner can be fun and romantic if you tackle it together. These meatballs with orzotto are great for busy weeknights because they require so little prep work: just chopping up the garlic and basil and zesting the lemon. After that, it’s just a matter of mixing up the meatball mixture, forming the meatballs, and searing them, and then they finish cooking in the chicken stock that is simultaneously cooking the orzo! A true one-pot wonder, full of bright flavors from the lemon and basil. The chicken meatballs are light, while the orzo brings some heft to the dish. 

This recipe is so easy that one of you might even have time to set the table! With placemats! And wine glasses! That’s strictly a bonus of course, even if this meal is eaten on the couch in front of your latest Netflix binge, it’s still a winner.

Find the full article on The Epoch Times.

One-Pan Basil Chicken Meatballs With “Orzotto”

Servings 2 people with leftovers


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil, loosely packed, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon, divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  •  Lemon wedges, for serving


  • Crack the egg into a large bowl and lightly whisk. Add the ground chicken, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, panko, lemon zest (save the juice for later!), and 3/4 teaspoon salt to the bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly combine. Roll chicken mixture into about 10 meatballs, each a little larger than a golf ball. The mixture will be sticky and wet; if you need to, wet your fingers between meatballs to prevent sticking.
  • Warm 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet or pan over medium-high heat and swirl it around to coat the pan. Use tongs to sear the meatballs for about 2 minutes per side on three sides. They will start to look a bit like triangles after you sear them, but don’t worry, they’ll round back out as they cook. The meatballs will not be entirely cooked at this point—you’re just getting a nice golden brown sear on the outside.
  • Scoot the meatballs to the outer edges of the pan to make a clearing in the center. Add the chicken stock, orzo, garlic, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to the center of the pan and stir to combine. The meatballs, orzo, and chicken stock will all mix together in the pan, just be sure to spread the orzo out evenly so that it’s covered in liquid. 
  • Raise heat to high to bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and stir often until all liquid is absorbed and orzo is tender, 10 to 15 minutes, adding the peas and Parmesan for the last minute of cooking. The orzo should be the consistency of risotto, not too thick, not too thin. If it gets too thick, just add another splash of chicken stock or water. If it looks too thin, keep cooking. 
  • Garnish with fresh basil and serve with additional Parmesan and lemon wedges.


Just like risotto, the orzotto will harden and clump together when it cools. To bring it back to life, simply add a splash of chicken stock or water and re-warm over medium heat. 
Want more veggies? Stir in a handful of fresh spinach or kale when you add the peas and Parmesan! Not into peas? Frozen corn, halved fresh snap peas, or cooked asparagus are all great substitutions.
Author: Caroline Chambers

Join the Conversation

  1. Just made this for a friend’s meal train without the parm. Obviously, I scooped out a few bites to taste test – this recipe is SO GOOD! I would warn though, this is for those who love lemon. I would halve the lemon if you just want a touch of lemon flavor. I loved it as written though!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

Caroline Chambers © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.