Orzo is not rice, it is short grain pasta. Translated from Italian it literally means ‘barley’. In Italy is more known as ‘risoni’ and is mostly used in soups which I absolutely adore. Cooked it in a bit of broth and served with lots of grated parmigiano on top is pure soul food. I used to cook an orzo bake a long time ago and no matter how much i try and remember the recipe its just gone in the back of my mind but, seeing it almost everywhere on Instagram lately, I decided to do a bake with it…its cheesy, flavorful and comforting and I really hope you will give it a try. You can skip the chicken for a vegetarian version and add some mushroom instead and leafy greens like spinach…yammmm!!
Quantities are for 2-3 people.
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 chicken breast, diced into small cubes
- 1 cup orzo
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 7 broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A bit of olive oil
- A knob of butter
- In a frying pan add a drizzle of olive oil and a knob of butter over medium heat.
- Once the butter melts add the onions and cook till translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper to taste and fry till slightly golden.
- Add the orzo and mix well so it toasts a bit, around 2 minutes.
- When the orzo is nicely toasted and coated with the olive oil and butter add the wine and let it cook down for a couple of minutes scraping anything that is on the bottom of the frying pan.
- Now add the stock and let it come to a simmer. Lower the heat and continue mixing for around 2 minutes.
- Now add the milk and season with nutmeg.
- When the milk gets creamy add the peas and broccoli and mix well.
- Turn off the heat and add half of the cheeses and mix it in the orzo.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and place the pan in preheated oven on 200 till golden, bubbly and has a nice crusty top!
NB: If cooking for more people transfer to a bigger baking dish, top with cheese and bake.