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Asparagus and Sausage Meatball Orzo with Parmesan Beer Cream Sauce

Twenty minute dinner: Asparagus and Sausage Meatball Orzo with Parmesan Beer Cream Sauce

I get a little itchy if I don’t get to cook.

The way musicians get when you keep them away from a stage, or an athlete when you take the ball away or how a runner will start to chew on the curtains if he can’t get out on the road. Even on the tail end of writing recipes for my second cookbook, like this one, I spend most days cooking in my kitchen surrounded by dirty dishes and half empty bottles of beer. And even though I should be writing recipes for my cookbook, I just wanted to make something that I wanted to make because I wanted to make it. It just happened to turn out photogenic, and so delicious that I wanted to share it with you. It’s an amalgamation of stuff in my fridge as well as half started recipes in my brain, and it also helped me use up one of those half empty bottles of beer I had laying around. And in the midst of cooking three other recipes, this one just took twenty minutes, which is good given the amount of cooking I need to do on a daily basis.

After six hours of cooking, and three rounds of dishes, I feel a little less itchy. But I do need a beer, a full one.

Twenty minute dinner: Asparagus and Sausage Meatball Orzo with Parmesan Beer Cream Sauce

Asparagus and Sausage Meatball Orzo with Parmesan Beer Cream Sauce


  • ½ lbs raw Italian sausage removed from casings
  • 2 tbs pale ale plus ½ cup pale ale, divided
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lbs asparagus
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 wt oz fresh shredded parmesan cheese about 1 cup
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups orzo
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes optional


  • In a small bowl stir together the sausage, 2 tbs pale ale, and 1 tsp red pepper flakes with your hands. Form into small balls, about half the size of golf balls.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the meatballs, cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, remove from pan.
  • Add the asparagus to the hot pan, cook until softened and starting to blister, about 5 minutes, remove from pan.
  • Add the remaining ½ cup pale ale, scraping to deglaze the pan. Lower heat to medium, stir in the cream. Simmer until reduced and thickened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the parmesan, honey, and black pepper
  • Cook the orzo in lightly salted boiling water for 6 minutes or until just before al dente. Drain and add the orzo to the sauce, stirring until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the meatballs and asparagus back into the pan, simmer until meatballs are warmed through. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with parsley and tomatoes.

Twenty minute dinner: Asparagus and Sausage Meatball Orzo with Parmesan Beer Cream Sauce

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Crystal August 13, 2014 um 6:16 am

I love how savory, yet easy this recipe seems! Do you think the pale ale could be replaced with an IPA or lager and still keep a good flavor?


Jackie August 13, 2014 um 8:57 am

I don’t think I would do anything too hoppy, might get too bitter. A pale lager would be fine, or a saison, Kolsch or Hef would work too.


Sophia @ NY Foodgasm August 13, 2014 um 7:49 am

OMG this sounds amazing! Like the PERFECT fall meal! I heart orzo too and sausage meatballs with these cream sauce- DAYUM! Love it Jackie!


Samantha @ Carpe Cibus August 13, 2014 um 7:49 am

This. Looks. AMAZING! Enjoy that full beer! And I’m eagerly awaiting the next cookbook, hopefully a signed copy if you do another book tour 😉


Eileen August 13, 2014 um 11:18 am

This sounds like such a satisfying plate of pasta! And because I’m the only meat-eater in the house, I might just make a big batch all for myself and eat it for lunch three days in a row. 🙂


Tieghan August 13, 2014 um 8:37 pm

Now this is just beautiful! Love these flavors!


Carrie Pacini August 14, 2014 um 5:47 am

This sausage orzo sounds perfect for a quick weekday meal. I bet it taste amazing!


addie | culicurious August 14, 2014 um 3:37 pm

How exciting that your second book is almost done! 🙂 And also: this looks delicious! Sometimes the tastiest dishes come from unexpected places!


Patrick Schulz August 15, 2014 um 9:02 am

Wow, this looks soooo nice and yummy!!!
The only problem is that I don’t like asparagus thaaat much :[ … Could you give me a quick tip for a substitution? Thanks! 😀


Jackie August 15, 2014 um 9:37 am

It depends on what you like. Broccolini would be great, mushrooms would be good, but a lot different.


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