This cherry tomato orzo skillet features tender orzo in a spicy harissa cherry tomato sauce, lots of fresh herbs, and creamy burrata cheese broken open over top.
When summer gives you tomatoes….you pile them all in this flavor bomb of a skillet, top it off with burrata cheese and call it a day.
Most summer food you see around here focuses on keeping things as simple as possible with just letting the fresh produce shine for itself and that’s exactly what we’re doing here today.
This orzo is about as simple as it gets, but the flavors are HUGE.
We’re talking 9 ingredients and less than an hour standing between you and this gem of a skillet on your dinner table. It’s seriously to die for.
And honestly, no one would blame you if you find yourself eating straight from the skillet.
This Cherry Tomato Orzo features…
- A fresh cherry tomato sauce spiced up with smoky harissa.
- Lots of fresh basil and oregano.
- Tender orzo pasta soaking up all the flavorful sauce.
- Creamy burrata cheese beautifully broken in half on top.
Making the Cherry Tomato Orzo
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Cherry tomatos
- Olive oil
- Unsalted butter
- Burrata cheese
What is Harissa?
Harissa is a Middle Eastern chile paste. It’s primarily made up of smoked chile peppers, roasted red peppers, spices, garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes.
Harissa is very flavorful, but also packs a bit of a punch so use it sparingly and taste as you go! If you’re sensitive to spice, you can easily leave it out or cut back the amount.
You can find harissa in a Middle Eastern store/market as well as the international section of most major grocery stores. I’ve also bought it on Amazon before.
Tips for Perfect Orzo
- Char cherry tomatoes in cast iron – the cast iron gives the tomatoes a lovely char that adds so much flavor to the sauce.
- Cook sauce until tomatoes are bursting – once the tomatoes have softened and burst, you’ll know its ready.
- Add garlic, harissa, and butter – these three ingredients get added at the end of the sauce cooking so they keep their flavor.
- Use fresh herbs – fresh oregano and basil are KEY here for getting lots of herby flavor into the orzo.
- Cook orzo separately – follow recipe instructions for cooking orzo in salted boiling water, then add to sauce.
- Break burrata open over top – pat the burrata dry, carefully break in half, and arrange on top of skillet.
If you want some inspiration for making this recipe a little different, try these idea!
- Try another cheese – Parmesan, asiago, fresh mozzarella, or ricotta would be great cheese stand-ins for the burrata.
- Adjust the heat level – if you’re sensitive to spice, start with 1 tablespoon harissa or just leave it out entirely! Alternatively, if you can’t get enough heat, feel free to add more than our suggested amount of 3 tablespoons to taste.
- Add meat – cooked chicken or sausage would be a delicious meaty addition to this orzo.
- Change up the pasta – this skillet will work great with any short cut of pasta. We suggest trying elbows, small shells, or penne.
What to Serve with Orzo
This orzo is fantastic served alongside any grilled meat, particularly grilled steak or chicken.
We also love serving this orzo alongside a big green salad or grilled vegetables to keep things on the lighter side. Either way you serve this orzo, it will be a smashing success!
The spicy kick from the harissa, the mellow sweetness of the cherry tomato sauce, and the oodles of creamy burrata cheese are just going to make you fall head over heels for this orzo.
If you find yourself making it at least once every few weeks…just know you’re not alone.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More incredible pasta dishes to try next!
- Sun-Dried Tomato Smoked Salmon Pasta
- One Pot Spinach Artichoke Pasta
- Lemon Pepper Chicken Alfredo Fettuccine
Harissa Cherry Tomato Orzo with Burrata
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons mild or spicy harissa paste
- 1 lb orzo pasta, cooked according to package instructions and kept warm
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz room-temperature burrata cheese, patted dry
- Heat a 9-inch cast iron skillet or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat bottom. Add tomatoes and char on all sides, turning occasionally until tomatoes are softened and bursting, about 6-8 minutes of cooking.
- Reduce heat to medium and add butter, garlic, and harrisa paste. Cook 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add orzo, basil, and oregano to skillet and toss to evenly coat. Cook several minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
- Season skillet with salt and pepper to taste. Break burrata open and arrange on top of skillet. Serve orzo warm and enjoy!