Ground Turkey Zucchini Orzotto with fresh basil on top in a white bowl with fork.

Ground Turkey Zucchini Orzotto

Yield: 6 servings 1x
Prep: 10 minutesCook: 45 minutesTotal: 55 minutes

This Ground Turkey Zucchini Orzotto is a one-pot risotto-style pasta the whole family will enjoy. You’ve never had ground turkey like this – full of flavors like lemon, basil and garlic, with buttery orzo and zucchini to complete the meal!



  • 23 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey (see note)
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound dry ozro
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 34 cups low sodium chicken broth, warmed
  • zest of 1 lemon, plus juice to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • grated parmesan, to serve


  1. Cook the zucchini: Heat a large non-stick frying pan or deep skillet over a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the zucchini and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 6-8 minutes until tender and browned on both sides. Add the garlic and cook for another minute before removing from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  2. Cook the turkey: Add the ground turkey to the remaining oil in the pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Let the turkey begin to brown on the bottom, then break up the block with the back of your spoon. Try to keep a good few bite-sized chunks to give the orzotto more texture. Once the turkey is just cooked, add the onion. Continue to cook and stir occasionally until the turkey is golden and the onion is soft.
  3. Add the orzo: Stir in the orzo and cook for another minute until the pasta is well coated in the oil from the pan and it is heated through. If the pan appears dry, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil and stir. Optional: Add the white wine and stir into the orzo. Allow to cook until the wine has completely evaporated.
  4. Cook the orzotto: Gradually add the warmed chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after every addition and cooking until each 1/2 cupful is absorbed. Continue until the orzo is just tender. You might use a little less than 4 cups, or you might need to top it up with a bit of warm water: how quickly your orzo cooks and with how much liquid depends on the size of your pan, how hot you’re cooking it at, and which brand of orzo you’re using. The best way to tell if more liquid is needed is by doing a taste test of the orzo. 
  5. Add remaining ingredients: Once the orzo is completely cooked through, stir the cooked zucchini back into the pan and keep on the heat until just warmed. Remove the orzotto from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and the butter until it has melted into the pasta. Stir in the basil, and season to taste with more salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  6. Serve & store: Serve with grated parmesan, additional ribbons of basil, and more lemon juice if needed on individual servings. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Best reheated slowly on the stovetop with a few tablespoons of broth and a pat of butter.


Ground turkey: Choose 93% lean ground turkey, or even better, ground turkey thigh meat if you have the option. More fat in the turkey means more flavor and moisture in the final dish.

Leftovers idea: Any leftovers can be used in place of the starch in most arancini and leftover pasta fritter recipes.

Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: ~ 1 2/3 cups
  • Calories: 521
  • Fat: 21g
  • Carbohydrates: 55g
  • Protein: 24g
© Author: Danielle
Cuisine: Italian-inspired Method: Stovetop
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