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Love Spaghetti Bolognese? Try this one pan Orzo Bolognese to mix things up. This easy recipe uses our favourite midweek mince but with a twist. Store cupboard ingredients, super simple yet totally satisfying – you’ve GOT to try it!

A big one pan dish of Orzo Bolognese.

By now you know that it’s my ongoing mission to come up with fresh ideas of what to do with that packet of beef mince we buy in the shopping every week. 

We know it’s a cut that makes sense for everyone in the family because it’s so versatile, value for money and delicious so.. Meet my One Pan Orzo Bolognese!

I hope this new-but-not-too-new beef and orzo recipe ticks every box you need for a fantastic but simple midweek meal.

Why you’ll love this recipe

⭐️ A new twist on a classic fave

⭐️ Rich and delicious

⭐️ A little goes a long way

Close up of cooked Orzo Bolognese dish, with tomatoes, beef mince and basil.

About this Orzo Bolognese recipe

In case you’re not familiar with orzo yet, it is a type of pasta that is shaped a bit like rice. It is known as ‘little pasta’ in Italy, where it was traditionally used in soups, but it has become a widely-used versatile type of pasta that can be used in many kinds of hot or cold dishes.

It tastes amazing and is nice as a change from what we’re used to in the UK when it comes to ‘regular’ pasta types, because it holds its shape well, has a different consistency and cooks well in sauces like this one.

While you can cook it on the hob, like this one and my Marry Me Chicken Orzo, it’s also easy to cook in the oven in pasta bakes like my Butternut Squash & Halloumi Orzo Bake and Meatball Orzo Bake, in pasta salads like this orzo recipe, or in the slow cooker, like my Lamb Orzo Stew.

How I came up with this orzo recipe

I did a lot of testing for this recipe to make sure it was just right – balancing out the flavours with the orzo and ensuring it was the right level of richness for such a quick cook dish. It’s also important not to let orzo dry out or overcook.

I’ve adapted my favourite bolognese recipe and method, as well as my popular One Pan Lasagne from my first book ‘What’s For Dinner’, to create this orzo-based bolognese dish.

Orzo Bolognese Ingredients

Ingredients for Orzo Bolognese laid out on a counter top.
  • Olive oil – Not extra virgin.
  • Lean beef mince – See top tips below.
  • Garlic – Fresh cloves or ‘cheat’ style in a jar or paste is OK.
  • Onion – Same as above. Frozen or fresh is fine. One onion is about 200g of pre-chopped.
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Tomato purée
  • Dried oregano
  • Hot beef stock – Made with a stock cube is fine
  • Orzo pasta
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to make Orzo Bolognese

A pan filled with carrots, celery, onion, mince beef and garlic for step 1 in the recipe Orzo Bolognese.

1. Fry the beef mince in oil over a high heat until browned, then add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes until soft.

Step 2 in the recipe for Orzo Bolognese. Add tomatoes to the pan.

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and stock. Simmer on a medium heat as per the recipe below.

Step 3 in the recipe for Orzo Bolognese. Add orzo to the sauce.

3. Add the orzo and stir well. Cook for as per the recipe below.

Step 4 in the recipe for Orzo Bolognese. Add parmesan to the dish and stir.

4. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over the parmesan. Stir and serve.

Hint: If the mixture becomes too dry before the orzo is cooked, add a splash of water.


  • Veggies – You can use your preferred bolognese additions, such as mushrooms or courgettes.
  • Vegetarian/vegan – You can use a beef mince alternative to make this a vegetarian dish. Replace the parmesan for a vegan alternative too if you wish.

Leftovers & reheating orzo pasta

In the fridge Orzo can become a little gloopy after you’ve initially cooked it, so add a splash of water or an ice cube before you reheat it to stop it drying out.

In the freezer Orzo is always at its best when cooked and eaten immediately, but that’s not to say it won’t still be delicious if it’s out of the freezer. The texture can just become very stodgy. See the tip above for reheating.

Top tips for making Orzo Bolognese

Beef mince

Ideally I’d use 5% or 10% fat for this recipe, otherwise it might be a bit fatty, but it’s down to personal preference. You can drain some of the fat if you need to.
Always dispose of fat very carefully – don’t block your drains! Read here to see what Recycle Now suggests.

HACK: Frozen mixed base veggies

You can replace the individual carrots, celery and onion ingredients for a frozen bag of ‘soffritto’, which comes already pre-chopped and all together in one bag. (I love this cheat for lots of recipes!) It might be called ‘vegetable base mix’ or something similar in some supermarkets.


How do I make sure my orzo doesn’t dry out?

The quantities in this recipe should be good but if you feel as though your orzo is drying out, add a little extra water or stock and stir. Don’t overdo it – just a little at a time.

Can you recommend a good pan for making one pot meals?

I recently tasked myself with trying out a variety of one-pan pans in a quest to find out which ones were up to the important job of making an all-in-one meal. Read my pan review here. I hope it helps!

Can I use a different pasta?

I wouldn’t recommend it. This recipe has been tested multiple times specifically to work with orzo. Orzo works here because it is sturdy, cooks so quickly and has a rice like texture. Feel free to try but you will need to adjust the stock levels and cooking time.

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

5 from 43 votes

Orzo Bolognese {One Pot}

With its rich, classic ragu, this Orzo Bolognese is a reinvention of the classic family favourite. It’s just as simple to make, is full of simple ingredients, but it gives a fresh take on a perfect one-pot midweek meal.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 500 g Beef mince
  • 4 Cloves garlic, Peeled and crushed.
  • 1 Onion, Peeled and finely chopped.
  • 3 Carrots, Peeled and chopped into very small pieces.
  • 3 Celery sticks, Cut into very small pieces.
  • 400 g Tinned chopped tomatoes , x1 can
  • 3 tbsp Tomato purée
  • 3 tsp Dried oregano
  • 750 ml Hot beef stock, Cube is fine.
  • 250 g Orzo
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 75 g Parmesan cheese, Grated.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oil in your sauté pan over a high heat and add the mince.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes until it is browned all over. Stir it occasionally with a wooden spoon as it cooks to break up the mince.
  • Add the garlic, onion, carrots and celery and cook for a further 5 minutes until the vegetables have started to soften.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and stock.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, put the lid on and cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened and everything has thickened.
  • Add the orzo, stir well, put the lid back on and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through, stirring occasionally. (If the mixture becomes too dry before the orzo is cooked, add a splash of water.)
  • Before serving, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over the parmesan.


Calories: 615kcalCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 48gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 936mgPotassium: 1521mgFiber: 7gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 8105IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 352mgIron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Family Food, Italian
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Sarah Rossi founder of and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.


Hi, I'm Sarah. I help busy people decide 'What's for Dinner?' Find hundreds of recipes here, and also in my bestselling recipe book. Hope my recipes make your life easier ❤️

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this but cooked the sauce minus the beef for a little while then blitzed the sauce before adding the beef and orzo, as my middle 2 kids are very fussy with veg and I find this the best way to get them to eat it. Grating veg doesn’t work as they can still see it/feel the texture.

  2. Absolutely delicious and a huge hit with our hungry family of 5. Love that it’s a one pot meal too. I added some green peppers at the orzo stage too for a bit of extra crunch and colour. A really tasty, lighter alternative to a pasta bolognaise, definitely adding this one to the growing list of Taming Twins mid-week dinners in our house!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this last week and it was a real hit with all the family (a rare thing!). Grated in courgette and carrot for hidden veg!

    1. 5 stars
      DELICIOUS!!!! Another recipe I have made countless times now. Have made and recommended to friends and this has also become a staple in their household!

  4. 5 stars
    Cooked tonight with turkey mince standard in our house along with adding mushrooms and courgette. Yum yum! Loved it

  5. 5 stars
    Tried this for dinner tonight and it was delish! I had
    a few turned up noses when they heard what I was making however clean plates all round, the balsamic at the end I will be using from now the on!

    I made the recipe the night before minus the orzo and put back on to heat and cooked through before adding it tonight and worked out well 😀