Monday, July 20, 2009

Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas

Here is another recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. It is also courtesy of my cousin Amber in Chicago. She sent me a bunch of Giada recipes that she and her husband loved. Thanks, Amber! This recipe is great. It is vegetarian, but you don't even notice. It is cheesy and creamy, kind of like risotto, but baked.

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
3 tablespoons butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
1 onion, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I like Baby Bellas)
1 cup Marsala wine (Great way to use up some of that Marsala wine you have on hand for Chicken Marsala. It also adds a little sweetness.)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half and half because that is what I use in my coffee and have on hand.)
4 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 1 cup)
4 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Pour the orzo and the broth into a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms are beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add the Marsala. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until the Marsala has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the orzo in the large bowl. Add the cream, fontina, mozzarella, peas, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and dried thyme. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

Serve with a little side salad.

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