This is one dang fast and easy dinner. Cook your chicken and chop your veggies ahead of time and it takes maybe 15 minutes, tops to throw together and finish! The three colors of peppers look amazing and it’s so CREAMY! Those teeny, tiny little bits of pasta just let themselves be surrounded by all that lush, creamy sauce–YUM! I highly approve of creamy food. Creamy food has a solid place in my world. I think as long as you balance your naughty foods with your nice foods, then everyone’s happy! Makes awesome leftovers, just thin it out with a little cream (of course!) or use chicken broth instead if you like.
1/2 each of a red, yellow, and orange bell pepper (or 1 1/2 of just one color–three is prettier!)
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced or quartered (quartered will hold up better if you like large, noticeable chunks of mushrooms)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 pound orzo
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
juice from 1/2 a medium lemon
3/4 cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese
Cook your chicken. I like to bake it in the oven with a tiny bit of salt & pepper at about 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken. I then let it cool and pull it apart and set it aside.
Cook the orzo in salted, boiling water according to package directions, minus maybe a minute. You still want the tiniest bit of bite left. You don’t want the orzo becoming overcooked during the remainder of the preparation process. When orzo is done, remove a bit of the pasta water to have on hand if the dish needs a little thinning out at the end. Drain the pasta (make sure you use a collander small enough to trap the orzo, you don’t want to watch the most important part of your meal going down the drain!) Set orzo aside.
In a large cast iron pot or skillet, heat the oil. Add the peppers and let cook until just starting to soften. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until all the vegetables have started to brown and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and cook another 1–2 minutes. Add the thyme and rosemary.
Add the cream cheese in small amounts, stirring until the cream cheese melts. Add the cream and chicken broth, stirring well to combine. Add the orzo and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice. Add reserved pasta water, if needed, until desired consistency. Add 1/2 cup of freshly shaved parmesan cheese, stirring in until melted through.
Serve, garnishing with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.