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Italian Sausage Zucchini Orzo

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x


This Italian Sausage Zucchini Orzo recipe is easy to make in one pot with a zesty tomato-basil sauce.


  • 1 pound Italian sausage (spicy, mild or sweet)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups beef or chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 3 ounces (about 2 large handfuls) fresh baby spinach
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper


  1. Cook the sausage and veggies. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, using a wooden spoon to break up and stir the sausage occasionally as it cooks. Stir in the onion, zucchini, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and continue cooking for 5 to 6 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.
  2. Simmer. Add the orzo, tomato sauce, beef (or chicken) stock and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the sauce reaches a simmer, stirring the pasta frequently so that it does not stick and burn on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low or whatever temperature is needed to maintain a low simmer. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the orzo is al dente. The sauce will become fairly thick, but if you believe it needs more liquid, just add in more stock as needed to finish cooking the pasta.
  3. Add the final ingredients. Stir in the heavy cream, basil, Parmesan and baby spinach until the spinach begins to wilt.
  4. Season. Taste and season with salt, pepper and/or additional basil if needed.
  5. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with lots of freshly-grated Parmesan, and enjoy!