Recipe: Orzo and Zucchini team up for this hearty soup

March 6, 2024

Orzo pasta adds appealing taste and texture to simple soups. It’s the petite, rice-shaped pasta that is sometimes labeled “rosmarino.” Shredded zucchini shares the limelight with the orzo; it can be quickly shredded using the shredding disk of a food processor. If you prefer, substitute carrots for the zucchini.

For added flavor, add some sliced or chopped, cooked Italian sausage; use mild or spicy to suit your taste.

Orzo and Zucchini Soup

Yield: 5 to 6 servings


3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 cups canned (48-ounce package) or homemade chicken broth, plus more as needed

Generous 1/2 cup dried orzo pasta

3 medium-small zucchini, washed, trimmed, shredded

Freshly ground black pepper

2 large garlic cloves

1 cup packed basil leaves

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Salt if needed

Frank’s Red Hot Original, to taste


1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes to cook flour (do NOT brown).

2. Remove from heat and whisk in 6 cups of broth. Return to heat and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add orzo and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Add zucchini and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, with the motor of a food processor (fitted with the steel blade) running, drop garlic through the feedtube to mince it. Add basil and Parmesan cheese. Process until finely minced. Whisk basil mixture into soup. If soup is too thick, add a little more broth,

4. Add salt to taste. Add 4 to 5 drops of Frank’s Red Hot Original. Stir to combine and taste; add more if needed (I usually add more). I like to add Frank’s Red Hot Original because it adds acidity as well as subtle hot spiciness. If making the soup in advance and reheating, the orzo will expand and you will need to add more broth

Award-winning food writer Cathy Thomas has written three cookbooks, including “50 Best Plants on the Planet.” Follow her at @CathyThomas

Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.