Orzo Soup With Pancetta

6 servings
1 hr 25 min

Orzo Soup With Pancetta and Fresh Herbs is a perfect soup for spring and summer. It makes use of fresh herbs and spinach along with leeks and fennel. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl for a bright, fresh taste.

Orzo Soup lends itself to so many different variations. You could easily add some additional spring veggies like peas and/or asparagus. This is such an easy soup to customize any way you’d like. I don’t know about you, but I can seriously eat soup in any season. I’ve even been known to eat it for breakfast. 😂


I do believe this easy soup recipe will become a favorite in your meal rotation. It makes a perfect light dinner or totally satisfying lunch. This is one I take to work to heat up on repeat.


FAQS:

Just what is orzo?Orzo is a rice shaped pasta made from semolina flour. It is traditionally used in both soups and salads, and it cooks quickly (about 8-10 minutes). If using orzo in a salad, make sure to rinse well after cooking, and toss with a small amount of oil to ensure it doesn’t clump together.

What can I substitute for orzo?A short grain rice such as arborio is a great substitute as it is similar in size and texture to orzo. You could also substitute couscous or risoni (orzo shaped but made from chickpeas).

Is orzo gluten-free?No, orzo is made from wheat. To make orzo soup gluten-free, simply use risoni or a gluten-free orzo. See the recipe notes for buying options.

How do I store leftover orzo soup?Let the leftover soup cool to room temperature, then store covered in the refrigerator for up to five days. Note: The orzo will continue to soak up broth, so you will need to add extra broth for your desired consistency when reheating.

Can I freeze orzo soup?Yes, but the orzo tends to become mushy when frozen then thawed. If you want to include this soup as part of your meal prep, simply prepare the soup without adding the orzo, then freeze into your desired portion size. When ready to thaw and heat, add the orzo. If heating the soup in the microwave. Cook the orzo separately, then add to the heated soup. If heating on the stove top, add the dry orzo to the soup, and heat for 8-10 minutes until the orzo is cooked.


INGREDIENTS FOR RECIPE:

Not pictured: 8 cups chicken broth

HOW TO PREPARE ORZO SOUP:


  • Begin by prepping your fresh ingredients. Chop the leeks and fennel, and set aside. Finely chop the herbs and green onion, and rough chop the spinach. Set aside.
  • Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the pancetta and sauté about 3 minutes. Add the fennel, leeks, salt, and pepper, and stir to thoroughly combine ingredients. Cook about 7-8 minutes until beginning to soften while occasionally stirring. Add the minced garlic and cook about 3 more minutes until it’s fragrant.
  • Pour in the white wine and miso. Stir until miso is completely dissolved. Continue cooking about 5 minutes until wine is reduced. Add the orzo, and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, and simmer until the orzo has softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the cannellini beans and spinach, and stir until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in green onion, basil, and parsley. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
Saute the pancetta.
Add leeks and fennel.
Stir in wine and miso. Allow to reduce.
Saute orzo.
Add chicken broth to cook orzo.
Add beans and spinach.
Remove from heat and stir in fresh herbs.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:


  • Serve with a crusty bread ( Irish Soda Bread) to soak up the delicious broth or with a simple side salad, such as an easy Caprese Salad.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl for bright, fresh taste.
  • Sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan, romano, or asiago cheese.
  • Top with additional chopped green onion or herbs.



INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS:


  • Leeks: Substitute yellow or brown onion.
  • Fennel: Use diced celery.
  • Pancetta: Diced bacon can also be used. You could even use shredded chicken.
  • Orzo: Try mini gnocchi, couscous, or ditalini.
  • Vegetarian: Omit the pancetta, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Gluten-free: DeLallo makes a gluten-free orzo. In addition, Explore Cuisine makes chickpea risoni, which is very similar to the texture of orzo. You could also substitute a short grain rice such as arborio.


RECIPE NOTES:


  • A Dutch oven is an essential kitchen tool. It’s perfect for soups and stews, plus it’s oven safe for braising cuts of meat.


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Recipe details

  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 40 Minutes Cook time: 45 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 25 min
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Ingredients


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 2 medium leeks, finely chopped, about 1 1/4 cups (white and light green parts)
  • 1 cup fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine, sauvignon blanc
  • 2 tablespoons light miso paste (optional for a boost of umami)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (white kidney beans) drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups, loosely packed fresh spinach, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Instructions


Begin by prepping your fresh ingredients. Chop the leeks and fennel, and set aside. Finely chop the herbs and green onion, and rough chop the spinach. Set aside.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the pancetta, and sauté about 3 minutes. Add the fennel, leeks, salt, and pepper. Stir to thoroughly combine ingredients, and cook about 7-8 minutes until vegetables begin to soften while occasionally stirring. Add the minced garlic and cook about 3 more minutes until it’s fragrant.
Pour in the white wine and miso. Stir until miso is completely dissolved. Continue cooking about 5 minutes until wine is reduced. Add the orzo, and sauté for 3 - 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, and simmer until the orzo has softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the cannellini beans and spinach, and stir until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, and stir in green onion, basil, and parsley.
Optional for serving: Stir in the juice of one lemon, top with grated parmesan, and chopped green onion, or other chopped herbs.

Tips

  • Leeks: Substitute yellow or brown onion.
  • Fennel: Use diced celery.
  • Pancetta: Diced bacon can also be used. You could even use shredded chicken.
  • Orzo: Try mini gnocchi, couscous, or ditalini.
  • Vegetarian: Omit the pancetta, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Gluten-free: DeLallo makes a gluten-free orzo. In addition, Explore Cuisine makes chickpea risoni, which is very similar to the texture of orzo. You could also substitute a short grain rice such as arborio.
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  • Nicole P Nicole P on Jun 22, 2021

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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