Summer is fast approaching, and this time of year I love to cook recipes that are satisfying, but on the lighter side. We do a lot of entertaining here during the summer months, and if a recipe can double as something great for a dinner party, then it’s the best of both worlds in my book. Today I’m sharing my Chicken Parmesan Orzo Pasta, which is a wonderfully light and flavorful twist on a classic Chicken Parmesan dish, and perfect to feed a crowd. Where classic Chicken Parmesan is typically fried, covered with heavy sauce and cheese, and served atop a large bed of pasta, you will find my version lighter in every way!
Chicken Parmesan Orzo Pasta- [Serves 4]
Prep Time: 5 minutes/ Cook Time: 25 minutes/ Total Time: 30 minutes
2 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, thawed
1 cup Panko Breadrumbs
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 cup dry Orzo Pasta (I like Barilla brand)
6 medium sized Vine Ripened Tomatoes
1/4 medium Yellow Onion
4 cloves Garlic
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a wire rack set on it. Lightly coat wire rack with nonstick cooking spray.
- In two shallow bowls, prepare dredge for chicken- in first bowl, crack open 2 eggs and whisk well; in second bowl, stir together panko breadcrumbs, grated parmesan, salt and pepper.
- Cut each chicken breast into 4 long pieces, creating tenders. Pat each piece dry with a paper towel, and dredge in egg, then breadcrumb mixture, making sure to evenly and generously coat each side. Place chicken tender pieces on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- While chicken is baking, begin boiling the water for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, add the orzo and cook according to package directions, about 10 minutes.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat. Chop the onion finely, and add to the skillet when the oil is hot. Cook onion for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Chop tomatoes and garlic, and add to the skillet with the onions, being sure to include the juice and seeds from the tomatoes. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice, and continue cooking sauce over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove 1 cup of cooked sauce and reserve for serving.
- When the pasta is done cooking, strain and add to the skillet with the sauce, stir to combine. Remove the pasta and sauce from heat and set aside.
- After the 20 minutes of cooking time has elapsed on the chicken, turn on the broil setting for your oven, and broil chicken on a high rack for 5 minutes, until golden brown.
- To serve- start with pasta on the bottom, place two parmesan chicken tenders atop, add a small spoonful of reserved sauce over the chicken, and sprinkle with finely chopped fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese to taste.
Here are a few quick tips when making this recipe:
-As mentioned above, this recipe is wonderful for a dinner party! It can be easily doubled to feed more guests, but also, this meal tastes great at room temperature. This is not the type of pasta that needs to be served piping hot- so prepare everything right before guests are to arrive and serve when you’re ready to eat.
-To make prep a little easier, you can purchase chicken that is already cut into tender sized pieces.
-Baking the chicken on a wire rack is an essential step in ensuring your tenders get crisp all the way around. Don’t skip this step! 😉
Thanks so much for visiting the blog today, I hope this recipe serves you well this Summer! Drop me a comment and let me know how you like it! ❤️