Orzo with Cinnamon, Brown Butter, and Parsley

This recipe is ridiculously simple, but also completely unexpected. A savory pasta dish with cinnamon, parsley, and brown butter? Don’t knock it til you try it. It’s complex, refreshing, and completely delicious, a great side dish to serve warm or at room temperature. The cinnamon is barely noticeable, just deepening the warm, toasty flavor of the beautiful brown butter.

Orzo with Cinnamon, Brown Butter, and Parsley

 Try it with Middle Eastern and Greek flavors, cuisines that are skilled at incorporated a variety of spices we tend to think of as “sweet” into savory dishes. This pasta, a piece of marinated, grilled meat, and some roasted vegetables or a green salad are all you need for an easy yet sophisticated meal.


Spices used in this recipe

Cinnamon, Ground
Peppercorns, Tellicherry, Grinder
Salt, California Sea, Grinder



  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the orzo and stir -- it tends to clump while cooking, so you will want to stir every few minutes. Cook according to package directions to get a tender but not mushy pasta.
  2. While the orzo cooks, brown the butter. Heat a small, heavy skillet over low heat and add butter when skillet is warm. Simmer the butter, stirring occasionally, until it is a golden brown and starts to fill your kitchen with the most beautiful nutty aroma.
  3. Remove the butter from heat, and stir in the oil, cinnamon, and pepper.
  4. Drain orzo, return to its pot, and add the brown butter-spice mixture, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet -- those are the tastiest ones! Add the chopped parsley and a good grind of sea salt. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Bring leftovers to room temperature or gently reheat in a pot before re-serving -- the butter will congeal in the fridge to a less-than-ideal texture, but allowing the dish to warm will return it to its delicious state.

Serves 4 as a side and can easily be doubled for a crowd. Adapted from Gourmet Magazine.

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