Herb Grilled Chicken with Creamy Broccoli Orzo

There are some meals that Kyle and I have made over the years that really stick with us.  They are memorable meals; not memorable because of how good they were (though that helps) but because of the feelings they evoke and memories they awaken when we make them again.  This herb grilled chicken with creamy broccoli orzo is one of those memorable meals.

Herb Grilled Chicken with Creamy Broccoli Orzo

It was one of the first few posts that showed up here back in 2007 and though I swished by my 6th year blogiversary without blinking last month, this meal made a much anticipated reappearance to celebrate the occasion.  We’ve made it just a handful of times over the years but I thought it was time to reintroduce you all to its greatness…and because the post desperately needed a new photo.  In my heart, this was the meal that really showed me that I had the potential to be able to cook.  My knife skills were woeful and I was still watching The Food Network like an obsessive freak for tips on how to improve [everything].  It took me forever to chop the broccoli and garlic the recipe called for and I probably over-grilled the chicken.

Herb Grilled Chicken with Creamy Broccoli Orzo

But the herbes de Provence that I chose for the chicken paired perfectly with the homey and comforting creamy orzo, which likens to a Parmesan risotto or at the very, very least, a homemade version of a pre-packaged rice-pasta dish, and the meal was excellent in every way that first time.  Now when I go back to this very basic meal, I marvel at how things come full circle.  This meal came together for me in what felt like an instant but it was still just as perfect as it was all those years ago, and it even leaned a little to the lighter side as I swapped out most of the heavy cream for Greek yogurt. It’s one of those meals I know we’ll keep coming back to forever, if not for the full bellies we surrender to it, then for the reminder of those early years struggling in the kitchen to get dinner on the table while everything was still hot.

Herb Grilled Chicken with Creamy Broccoli Orzo

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

If chicken isn't your thing, grilled shrimp or a mild fish like halibut or mahi mahi would be great substitutes here. To make the orzo vegetarian, swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.


    For the creamy broccoli orzo:
  • 16 oz orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 ¼ cups plain fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan plus extra for sprinkling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • For the herb grilled chicken:
  • 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½-inch thickness
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp herbes de Provence
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook orzo according to package directions, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and season both sides with herbes de Provence, salt and pepper; set aside.
  3. Heat the grill medium-high heat.
  4. While the grill heats and right after you drop the orzo in the water, heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender and fragrant, about 1 ½ minutes. Add the broth and tomatoes and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Simmer the tomatoes until they are tender, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Start grilling the chicken while the tomatoes cook, turning after 4-5 minutes and grilling for another 3-4 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165° F.
  6. Stir the yogurt, cream and broccoli into the tomato mixture. Add the drained orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season the orzo with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan, if desired. Serve with the grilled chicken.


source: Smells Like Home | orzo is heavily adapted from Giada De Laurentiis