Creamy Tuscan Meatballs with Orzo Pasta (video)

a round pan on a table with creamy orzo and meatballs

This quick and easy dish is a new favorite of mine! Rich and creamy Tuscan meatballs with orzo pasta – you’ll love this easy dinner recipe. Made with juicy turkey meatballs seasoned with thyme, rosemary, and garlic; a rich and creamy Tuscan sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, parmesan, and garlic; and orzo pasta, all cooked together on one pot. This easy, one-pan meal is aromatic and incredibly delicious!

Watch My Tuscan Meatballs Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube meatballs and orzo video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and see how I make this one-pan recipe at home! Want to stay up to date on the latest recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website email list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications.

Ingredients for Creamy Orzo & Meatballs Recipe

Here are my tips for the main ingredients you’ll need to prepare this delicious pasta and meatball dish. Find the full list of ingredients with measurements in the printable recipe card below.

  • Ground Turkey: ground chicken will also work well for this recipe. I opt for ground turkey versus turkey breast, which is usually leaner. Extra fat will add flavor!
  • Orzo Pasta: this rice-like pasta is cooked right in the sauce, saving you time. You can make this recipe other types of small pasta, or cook large varietal pasta on the side, then add to the sauce.
  • Fresh Thyme & Rosemary: fresh herbs add the most amount of flavor!
  • White Wine: the acidity from the white wine really helps balance out the richness of the cream, resulting in a more aromatic and delicious sauce.
  • Cream: regular cream, heavy cream, or even half-and-half will work well.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes: I use sun-dried tomatoes prepared in oil. Just pat the excess oil off the tomatoes, then chop finely.
  • Baby Spinach: fresh or previously frozen spinach will work. Arugula will also work well.

Supplies & Tools for Your Home

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a closeup image of Tuscan meatballs with orzo pasta and parmesan cheese in a bowl

Making the Turkey Meatballs

One of the best parts of this Tuscan orzo pasta dish is the turkey meatballs. They’re extra juicy, aromatic and delicious! Here’s how to make them:

  1. Using a regular cheese grater, grate the onion into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground turkey, panko breadcrumbs and all the seasonings: salt, pepper, dried garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary.
  2. Using your hands, gently massage all the ingredients together, creating a uniform meatball mixture without overmixing the batter.
  3. Use a 1 tablespoon measuring scoop to portion the batter into small meatballs. Drop them on a tray wrapped in plastic wrap for easier clean up.
  4. Coat your hands in cooking oil, then gently roll the batter to form nice, round meatballs.

Frying Instructions for Meatballs

The meatballs need to be browned first. This step will ensure the meatballs keep their shape as they cook. At this step of the recipe, they don’t have to be fully cooked.

  1. Preheat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat with a generous drizzle of cooking oil (I use avocado oil).
  2. Once the pan is hot, add the meatballs, spacing them out about 1-inch apart. Fry the meatballs in 2 to 3 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry the meatballs for 5 to 6 minutes, turning gently with rubber tipped tongs or a spoon, until they’re nicely browned all over.
  3. Transfer the browned meatballs onto a tray and set aside for later.
a bowl of meatballs on a table with a copper pan

Preparing the Sauce

Once you have the meatballs nicely browned, use the same pan to prepare the creamy Tuscan sauce for the orzo pasta.

  1. Into the same pan over medium heat, add a tablespoon of butter and the diced shallots. Fry for a few minutes, just until the shallots are softened. Add in the diced garlic and chopped sun-dried tomatoes next and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the baby spinach, then pour in the white wine. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and the remaining fresh and dried herbs: 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary.
  3. Cook mixture for 5 to 6 minutes, until the wine is nicely reduced, and the spinach has wilted down. Can’t use wine? Replace the wine with ½ cup of chicken broth and the juice of 1 lemon.

How to Make Creamy Tuscan Meatballs with Orzo

Now, let’s bring everything together and finish the dish!

  1. Add the orzo pasta to the pan and stir to combine with the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Pour in the chicken broth, cream, parmesan cheese, and parsley and stir.
  2. Return the meatballs back into the pan, placing them gently over the orzo pasta.
  3. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the dish over medium heat for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the orzo pasta is cooked to al dente.
  4. Using a spatula, gently stir together the sauce, the cooked pasta, and the meatballs together.
a plate of orzo and meatballs on a table with a large pot of food

Serving Suggestions & Reheating Instructions

These Tuscan meatballs with orzo are best enjoyed right away. I love to add extra parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley over each serving before digging in to enjoy.

Need to reheat leftovers? Add the meatballs and orzo into a pan and rehydrate the pasta with a bit of chicken broth. Reheat over medium heat, adding broth as needed until the pasta is creamy.

a woman standing in a kitchen with a bowl of food

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this easy, one-pan dinner recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • Turkey Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy – another favorite of mine! Juicy and delicious meatballs with a creamy gravy, all served over mashed potatoes.
  • Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta – rich, creamy and so delicious! This pasta is made with juicy chunks of chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, and more!
  • Creamy Stroganoff – my easy take on traditional stroganoff! You can make this recipe with ground pork, beef, or even turkey! The mushroom sauce is so good!

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a pinanble, closeup image of meatballs with text overlay - 'Creamy Tuscan Orzo Turkey Meatballs'

Creamy Tuscan Turkey Meatballs with Orzo Pasta (video)

20 mins prep + 40 mins cook
4 servings
Rich and creamy Tuscan turkey meatballs with orzo pasta. Easy, one-pan dinner with juicy meatballs, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese!

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb ground turkey, or ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • cooking oil
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup white wine, such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

Making the Meatballs:

  • Using a regular cheese grater, grate the onion into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground turkey, panko bread crumbs and all the seasonings: 1 tsp salt, pepper, dried garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary.
  • Using your hands, gently massage all the ingredients together, creating a uniform meatball mixture without overmixing the batter.
  • Use a 1 tablespoon measuring scoop to portion the batter into small meatballs. Drop them on a tray wrapped in plastic wrap for easier clean up.
  • Coat your hands in cooking oil, then gently roll the batter to form nice, round meatballs.

Frying the Meatballs:

  • Preheat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat with a generous drizzle of cooking oil (I use avocado oil).
  • Once the pan is hot, add the meatballs, spacing them out about 1-inch apart. Fry the meatballs in 2 to 3 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry the meatballs for 5 to 6 minutes, turning gently with rubber tipped tongs or a spoon, until they’re nicely browned all over.
  • Transfer the browned meatballs onto a tray and set aside for later.

Preparing the Sauce:

  • Into the same pan over medium heat, add a tablespoon of butter and the diced shallots. Fry for a few minutes, just until the shallots are softened. Add in the diced garlic and chopped sun-dried tomatoes next and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the baby spinach, then pour in the white wine. Season the sauce with 1 tsp salt, pepper, and the remaining fresh and dried herbs: 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary.
  • Cook mixture for 5 to 6 minutes, until the wine is nicely reduced, and the spinach has wilted down. Can’t use wine? Replace the wine with ½ cup of chicken broth and the juice of 1 lemon.
  • Add the orzo pasta to the pan and stir to combine with the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Pour in the chicken broth, cream, parmesan cheese, and parsley and stir.

Cooking Instructions:

  • Return the meatballs back into the pan, placing them gently over the orzo pasta.
  • Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the dish over medium heat for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the orzo pasta is cooked to al dente.
  • Once cooked, use a spatula, gently stir together the sauce, the pasta, and the meatballs together.

Serving & Reheating:

  • These Tuscan meatballs with orzo are best enjoyed right away. I love to add extra parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley over each serving before digging in to enjoy.
  • Need to reheat leftovers? Add the meatballs and orzo into a pan and rehydrate the pasta with a bit of chicken broth. Reheat over medium heat, adding broth as needed until the pasta is creamy.

Nutrition

Calories: 860kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 240mg | Sodium: 2030mg | Potassium: 1057mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4411IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 409mg | Iron: 5mg