Lemon rosemary chicken and orzo skillet can be cooked all in one pan, making for an easy, quick diner. (Goran Kosanovic / For The Washington Post)

Lemon rosemary chicken and orzo skillet can be cooked all in one pan, making for an easy, quick diner. (Goran Kosanovic / For The Washington Post)

One-pan dinner will get you back in the groove

This one-skillet dinner brims with Mediterranean goodness. It’s a complete, nutritious meal with chunks of tender chicken, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and whole-grain orzo pasta, all simmered in a lemony garlic-and-rosemary-infused sauce. As a bonus, this recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes with minimal chopping, so it can take the stress out of the dinnertime crunch, something we could all use as we get back in gear post-Labor Day.

The pivotal technique is that rather than boiling and draining the rice-shaped pasta as you typically would, here you cook it in chicken broth with garlic and rosemary in the same skillet in which the chicken was browned. No colander is involved. As the orzo becomes tender, it absorbs the heady flavors and most of the liquid in the pan while releasing its starch into the remaining broth to form a lovely, thickened sauce.

Once the orzo is about halfway cooked, the zucchini is stirred in, and when that is nearly tender, the browned chicken and tomatoes are nestled into the pan along with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice, which brings all the elements together with its tangy brightness.

Served with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, it is sure to be a bright spot in your workweek routine.

Lemon-rosemary chicken and orzo skillet

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1⁄4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

8 ounces (1 1⁄2 cups) dried whole-grain orzo pasta

1 1⁄2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 1⁄2 cups no-salt-added chicken broth

1 medium zucchini (8 to 9 ounces), cut into 1⁄2-inch dice

1 heaping cup (6 1⁄2 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice

3⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep lidded skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and cook, stirring one or twice, until browned, 2 minutes total. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken, transferring the chicken to the plate once it has browned.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the orzo and rosemary and cook, stirring, until the orzo is well coated with the oil and lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 5 minutes, until the orzo is about halfway cooked.

Stir in the zucchini and cook, covered, until it is just tender, about 3 minutes, then return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet along with the tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the tomatoes soften and the chicken is cooked through. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

Nutrition: Per serving, based on 4 servings: 490 calories, 41 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 550 mg sodium, 10 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

Talk to us

More in Life

R.J. Whitlow, co-owner of 5 Rights Brewery, has recently expanded to the neighboring shop, formerly Carr's Hardware. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
County craft breweries’ past lives: hardware store, jail

Most breweries in Snohomish County operate in spaces that formerly housed something far different — from boat builders to banks.

Heroes.jpg: Characters in the fantasy world in “She Kills Monsters” at Red Curtain Arts Center, running Jan. 28-Feb. 13, include (front row) Erin Smith as Lilith, Katelynn Carlson as Kaliope; (middle row) Marina Pierce as Tillius, Lucy Johnson as Agnes; (back row) Daniel Hanlon as Orcus.
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Dungeons & Dragons collides with reality in “She Kills Monsters” at Red Curtain Arts Center in Marysville.

Caption: Stay-at-home parents work up to 126 hours a week. Their labor is valuable even without a paycheck.
A mother’s time is not ‘free’ — and they put in 126-hour workweeks

If you were to pay a stay-at-home mom or dad for their time, it would cost nearly $200,000 a year.

Linda Miller Nicholson from Fall City, Washington, holds up rainbow pasta she just made in the commercial kitchen at her Fall City home, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.  The rainbow wall behind her is in her backyard. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle TImes/TNS)
This King County woman’s rainbow pasta signals her values

Linda Miller Nicholson sculpts colorful noodles that reflect her personality and pro-LGBTQ+ pride.

CloZee performs during the second day of Summer Meltdown on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in Darrington, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The psychedelic fest Summer Meltdown is back — and in Monroe

The music and camping event is on for July 28-31, with a new venue along the Skykomish River.

Rotisserie chicken is paired with butter beans, dried dates and arugula in this simple salad dressed in a smoky vinaigrette. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Winter chicken salad packed with good-for-you greens

Served with crusty Italian bread and a glass of pale ale, it makes a quick and easy supper.

How to cultivate inner peace in the era of COVID, insurrection

Now more than ever, it’s important that we develop and practice relaxation and mindfulness skills that calm our minds and bodies.

Budapest’s House of Terror.
Cold War memories of decadent Western pleasures in Budapest

It’s clear that the younger generation of Eastern Europeans has no memory of the communist era.

Gardening at spring. Planting tree in garden. Senior man watering planted fruit tree at his backyard
Bare root trees and roses have arrived for spring planting

They’re only available from January through March, so shop early for the tree or rose you want.

Most Read