Courgette and Pancetta Orzo

Orzo is a delicious miniature pasta that’s perfect for a quick dinner – I’ve never met a child who doesn’t love it! This easy courgette and pancetta orzo is impossible to mess up and really tasty.

If you haven’t tried orzo, you should give it a go. Also known as risoni, it’s a tiny pasta shape – about twice the size of a grain of rice – and it has a wonderful texture.

This particular dish has courgette (or zucchini) and pancetta with cream cheese for rich creaminess. It’s a delight! There are plenty of variations, too – head to the Ingredients, Substitutions and Variations section to find out more.

Ingredients, Substitutions and Variations

  • Orzo – or risoni. This dish would also work nicely with macaroni.
  • Smoked pancetta – smoked pancetta brings loads of great flavour to this dish. You can use unsmoked, but it won’t be as good! You could substitute for a good quality smoked bacon.
  • Onion – use a white or yellow one.
  • White wine– optional. If you don’t use it, add 200ml cold water at that point instead.
  • Courgettes – you could sub for 300g frozen peas (just don’t cook for as long). You could also up the amount of courgettes if you have a glut.
  • Cream cheese – any plain cream cheese will do.
  • Parmesan – or any other hard Italian cheese.

Top Tip

  1. Cooking the courgettes

    You can cook the courgettes how you like them – either al dente or nice and soft. If you follow this recipe exactly, they’ll be soft. To have them more al dente, just take 2 minutes off the cooking time.

  2. Add extra veggies

    If you like, you can add some extra vegetables here to boost the vitamins. Try mushrooms, peas, spinach or tenderstem broccoli.

  3. Make extra

    This makes INCREDIBLE lunches. Bulk cook it and have it for lunch at work through the week! You can eat it hot or cold.

Courgette and Pancetta Orzo

Save This Recipe
Harriet Young
An easy and delicious orzo pasta dish with courgette, pancetta and cream cheese.
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • 500 g orzo
  • 200 g smoked pancetta
  • 1 large onion
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 3 medium courgettes
  • 75 g cream cheese
  • 50 g parmesan


  • Pour the orzo into a large pan of salted, boiling water and cook for 7-9 minutes or until the orzo is done. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and pancetta and put in a large saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, until the pancetta has started to brown. Pour in the wine.
  • Slice the courgettes into bitesize chunks and add to the pancetta pan. Put a lid on and cook for 7-8 minutes until the courgettes are softened.
  • Pour the cooked orzo into the pancetta and courgette pan and add the cream cheese and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well until the cheese has melted.
Keyword courgette, pancetta, pasta

Get the cook book:

Dinner in 15 Minutes (or less)

16 delicious dinner recipes, all ready in less than 15 minutes! Perfect for weeknights, and clearly presented in this PDF ebook.


4 responses to “Courgette and Pancetta Orzo”

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious summer recipe, the combination of smoked pancetta and zucchini is fabulous! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    So simple to make and full of rich, delicious flavors! Hub and I loved this recipe, I’ll be making it again!

  3. 5 stars
    This was so creamy and delicious! Loved the combination of flavors.

  4. 5 stars
    Oh this dish was so good. I loved the additional flavor that the smoked pancetta gave it. Thank you so much for this great recipe. Can’t wait to make it again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Hi there!

I’m Harriet, writer and cook, and I’m so pleased to have you here! I love nothing more than cooking delicious food and sharing it with the world. You can find out more about me here.