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Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Orzo

Picture this, it’s 5 pm and you haven’t given a thought to what’s for dinner. You don’t want take out, but you also don’t want to cook anything. This super creamy sun dried tomato orzo is ready in 15 minutes and uses almost all pantry/staple ingredients. That’s right no heavy cream here, not a splash. Instead this luscious orzo dish gets its creamy texture from a little bit of cream cheese tossed in at the end. I have never been one to have cream cheese lying in my fridge, but after making this dish countless times it has become a staple, JUST to make this weeknight, anytime pasta.

Cream Cheese….?

Yes, cream cheese. Listen I am a big believer that cream cheese only belongs on bagels, and I guess the occasional sweet dessert… just don’t tell me it’s cream cheese. Adding cream cheese to this dish not only adds a creamy element, but also a slight tang that cuts into the richness of the sauce.

up close shot of creamy sun dried tomato orzo

What You’ll Need For Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Orzo

  • Pasta – I chose orzo, however I have put this sauce on a ton of other pasta shapes.
  • Cream Cheese– Buy the block instead of a tub if you can. The recipe calls for 2 oz and those aluminum foil wrapped blocks are marked with oz on the outside. If all you can get is the tub use 4 tbsp.
  • Garlic – As always, fresh is best.
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes– Surprisingly this is another staple in my fridge. They last a long time and an easy way to add flavor to a dish.
  • Tomato Paste
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Pasta Water – You’ll want to save more than you might need. Save 1 1/2 cups of pasta water, when adding the water into the sauce add 1 cup. If the pasta isn’t as saucy as you would like add more later on.
  • Dried Red Chili Flakes– Completely optional, add if you like a little heat.
plates of creamy sun dried tomato orzo

A Few Tips

  • Eat alone or top with grilled chicken to make this a more substantial meal (as per the images). When I want really flavorful chicken with not a lot of time I like to make a quick 15 minute marinade. Coat the chicken using Italian or Greek dressing, some onion salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Let the chicken sit out for 15-20 minutes before grilling.

If you are looking for another pasta dish to use those sun dried check out my Spicy Sun Dried Tomato Pasta. That one is spicier, and more of a cross between a vodka sauce and this.

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Orzo

Print Recipe
Super creamy sun dried tomato orzo is ready in 15 minutes and uses almost all pantry/staple ingredients.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Pasta, Red Sauce
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 3/4 box orzo
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup pasta water reserve 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 oz cream cheese room temp

Instructions

  • Prepare pasta as per packaging in salty water. Right before you drain it save 1 1/2 cups of pasta water. Drain and put on the side for later.
  • In a pot over low-medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once heated up add garlic and sun dried tomatoes. Saute for 3-5 minutes until garlic is fragrant but not brown.
  • Add spices and tomato paste and combine. cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of pasta water and whisk to combine. Simmer sauce for 8-10 minutes with the lid on, checking every 2-3 minutes to stir.
  • Add cream cheese and mix to combine thoroughly. *Note is cream cheese is not at room temp it might melt in clumps. No fear, keep mixing it will eventually incorporate into the sauce. If the sauce is to thick add more pasta water.
  • Add cooked orzo, mix to combine and enjoy!

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