This flavorful Cajun Orzo with Andouille Sausage is a versatile dish that can serve double duty as either an entree or a side dish. It's simple to put together and makes a scrumptious busy day meal option.
What's Cajun About Orzo?
In this instance, the Cajun influence comes from the seasoning and using that oh-so-good andouille sausage. Orzo itself is a short grain pasta shaped like rice. While it's classic to pair rice with Cajun seasonings, sometimes it's nice to shake-up the dinner menu don't you think? My boys never turn their noses up to pasta in any form so, for me that makes this dish a weekday win.
Helpful Tips for Making Cajun Seasoned Orzo
This recipe is forgiving and there's plenty of room to personalize ingredients depending on what you have on hand.
- Kielbasa is another sausage option that works well in this dish.
- Prepared Cajun seasonings vary in level of heat and sodium content from brand to brand. Depending on the type of Cajun seasoning used, you may need to adjust the amount used in addition to salt called for in the recipe.
- Simmer the orzo with the lid offset until most of the liquid is absorbed. Mix well, then add the monterey jack and cream. If you'd like to add more cheese or use a different flavor, you can.
- You can adapt the amount of cream in this dish using more, or less. To cut calories, low fat half and half also works.
- Hot sauce on the side is a nice addition for those who may like to add a little more heat.
Other Cajun Inspired Recipes to Try
Cajun flavors are guaranteed to bring the heat to the dinner table. Other recipes you may enjoy:
- Cajun Collard Greens with Bacon
- Easy Shrimp Creole
- Cajun 15 Bean Soup with Turkey and Andouille Sausage
- Cajun Shrimp Pizza with Andouille
- Cajun Fried Corn from The Hungry Bluebird
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Cajun Orzo with Andouille Sausage
- 12 oz smoked andouille sausage ¼ inch slices
- olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes (OR one 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes)
- 1 rib celery diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 medium poblano or green bell pepper seeded and diced
- 2 cups orzo pasta
- 4 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth or stock
- 2-3 teaspoon Cajun seasoning i.e. Zatarain's or Tony Chachere's (adjust amount to taste)
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust depending on sodium in Cajun seasoning used)
- 1 ½ cups shredded monterey jack or mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup light cream (Or low fat half and half)
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (OR ⅓ cup grated)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- hot sauce for serving optional
- On the stovetop over medium high heat in a deep 12 inch oven safe skillet, brown sliced sausages for 2 minutes in a couple drizzles of olive oil. Add garlic cook 1 minute longer.
- To the pan add tomatoes, celery, onion and poblano cooking for 3-5 minutes. Cook just until softened and tomatoes have wilted.
- Add broth, orzo, Cajun seasoning and salt, adjusting both to taste. Mix well.
- Bring to a boil then immediately lower to a simmer, covering with a lid leaving it slightly offset. Simmer for around 15 minutes just until orzo has softened and absorbed liquid. Stir in monterey jack cheese and cream, mix well. (If needed, you can add more cream or broth to thin.)
- Preheat oven to broil. In a small bowl, toss together panko and Parmesan cheese with melted butter. Sprinkle on top. Place under the broiler for a few minutes, just until browned.
- Serve immediately as an entree or a side dish.
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