It's no secret that my kids are gonzo for Mac and Cheese, so when I saw this recipe, I figured it would be a more sophisticated version of mac and cheese for us to try. It also happened that I was reading a book, and "orzo" was the hip new thing, in the early 80s. So, it was clearly Kismet for us to give this a go.
As for the result, I liked it, but wasn't super jazzed about it. I took it for lunch leftovers (as written, it makes a LOT) but it was really missing some pizzazz. Definitely a good side dish, though I'm certainly not likely to put this much time and effort into a side dish.
But, maybe it's for you or you can think of a way to get this suited to your family's tastes better! (Side note: I did skip the bread crumb topping, which could have been my problem here)
Baked Asiago and Lemon Orzo Source: Sarcastic Cooking
- For the Pasta:
- 1 Pound Orzo Pasta
- ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter, plus more for greasing
- ½ Cup Diced Yellow Onion
- 1 Clove Garlic, grated
- ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1 ½ Cup Shredded Asiago Cheese, plus more for topping
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Dill
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Pepper
- Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- For the Topping:
- 1 Cup Cubed Stale Bread
- 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo, cook according to packaging.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, sauté for two minutes until translucent. Add garlic, stir to combine. Sauté an additional minute.
- Add the flour to the saucepan. Whisk to combine flour and butter. Cook for one to two minutes.
- Slowly pour in the milk, while stirring/whisking. Stir/whisk until the sauce and roux are totally combined.
- At this time the pasta should be ready to be drained. Drain pasta and set off to the side.
- Add the cheese to the sauce, stir, and cook until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in all the seasonings, zest, dill, and lemon juice.
- Grease a large 9×11 inch baking dish with butter. Add pasta to the baking dish, pour sauce over the pasta, and stir to evenly coat all the orzo with sauce.
- In a food processor, pulse the stale bread until a medium/fine crumb is formed. It doesn’t have to be uniform.
- In a small skillet, heat butter over medium/high heat until it melts. The butter will crackle and foam and then start to slowly turn brown. Once the butter starts to turn brown, add in the breadcrumbs and stir. Cook for another minute or two and then remove from heat.
- Pour the brown butter breadcrumbs over the cheesy orzo along with a little bit more shredded asiago and parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Let sit for three to five minutes before serving.
- Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat in microwave or oven.