Cheesy, Creamy Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas
Let me forewarn you: This is not a light, low-cal/fat recipe, but rather this dish is a diet-buster! It is an indulgent, creamy, cheesy pasta dish! Laced with spring green peas and meaty mushrooms, it’s perfect by itself as a meatless meal or paired with your favorite entree as a side dish. I put this together in less than a half hour prior to baking which made it even nicer. I’m sure that after sitting a day, all of the flavors will mingle beautifully! There were several adjustments that I made to this recipe: I sauteed some garlic with the onions and mushrooms, doubled the amount of cream and salt, and cut the bread crumb amount in half. These made a notably delicious difference in the texture (less dry) and flavor (more exuberant).
This week my family began experiencing some Spring Fever so looked through a cookbook that my daughter gave me, “Giada’s Kitchen” to satisfy this feeling. This recipe that features peas and mushrooms caught my eye. Peas and mushrooms always represent spring for me, especially morel mushrooms from when I was younger, my family would hunt for those little guys! Those little mushrooms were so HARD to find, yet oh so good!
This is a nice recipe, I would definitely make it again and again, but of course with the adjustments that I made. We just enjoy pasta in a sauce that is more creamy and garlic-y! My husband also felt that there should be more peas and mushrooms added. Now that’s saying something! I’ll make note of that for the next time we make this wonderful spring recipe!
Cheesy, Creamy Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas
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- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- Cooking spray for the baking pan
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced (my own addition)
- 8 oz. white mushrooms, wiped, trimmed, sliced (I used Baby Bellas, add another 8 oz. of prefered)
- 1 cup Marsala wine
- 1 cup heavy cream (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
- 4 oz. shredded fontina cheese
- 4 oz. diced fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (add another cup if you like)
- 1 tsp. salt (original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spray a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium sized saucepan.
- Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes.
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet.
- Add the onion and saute until tender, 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute for another minute, do not burn.
- Add mushrooms and continue to saute until golden around the edges, around 7 minutes.
- Add Marsala wine.
- Scrape the brown bits off bottom of the pan and cook until Marsala is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Add mushroom mixture to the orzo in a large bowl.
- Add the cream, fontina and mozzarella cheeses, peas, salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and thyme.
- Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta/mushroom/pea mixture.
- Bake until golden brown on top, 25 minutes.
- I also broiled it for 3 minutes to get the top more golden brown.
Orzo is one of those pastas that I swoon over. This is a very excellent reminder of Spring Roz!!!
Orzo is so delicious! I absolutely love when my mom makes it.
Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment! I appreciate very much and thank you for the following. I am now following you too!
Have beautiful Sunday, Roz!
Dear Roz, This is a delightful recipe..I too enjoy the prospect of Spring!! Thank you for you birthday wishes…Have a wonderful Sunday…Blessings, Catherine xoxo
I just love the flavors here. I love Giada – never a let down.
I like orzo quite a bit. What a nice representative dish for Spring fever. Great post!
OMG, this sounds amazing!
Roz,,,I will be making this sometime this week. Sounds so good. I want to thank you for your kind compliment about my posting on your blog. I love your blog…It is one that I read everytime you post. I love everything about it. Your daffodils are so very pretty mine are almost gone, we had rain here all day yesterday and today is chilly. Thank you for being such an inspiration and blog friend.
I love orzo and then you woo me with fontina cheese.Great dish and photo too!
Love the photo of the peas and the daffodils, and the orzo dish looks great too, but I’ll take your husband’s recommendations to heart.
Oh Roz, that cheesy, pasta dish is beautiful. Who cares about a diet, when you enjoy a meal like this one.
Looks like Spring is heading your way too.
Wow that looks yummy and your photos are AWESOME!
oh good lord Roz this looks so good I can rip the computer screen off to eat it… cant wait to make this ….wow!
Roz! It’s Carnevale time. We can be lean for 40 days but for a few days – indulgence. This will stay on my radar until I make it. The photos of the fresh peas made me smile – the daffodils beckoned and right now in MN, it’s snowing. Imagine that! I needed this post.
Mmm… this looks like quite a delicious and decadent dish. Garlicky and creamy sounds good to me. 😉
you had me at “let me forewarn you…” I love risotto and this looks delicious! we are getting snow so seeing your daffodils makes me green with envy! anne
Mmm, so delicious – and I love that leaf plate!
What a delicious meal!!! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters
Hi Roz! This looks incredible! I can’t wait to make it and totally bust my diet!
Thanks for stopping by my blog…I’m following you too!
The daffodils are beautiful! The orzo looks really good too … fontina valdostana is one my my favorite cheeses to cook with
I love your header! And the orzo and daffodils and, and
I found your lovely blog via Expat Blogs. Perhaps you would like to join my Expat Linky Party on March 19th? Hope to see you then, if not sooner.
I guess we were both thinking of peas this past week 🙂 I’ve made this recipe in the past and I think you’re exactly right to add the garlic and up the amount of cream. Looks fabulous Roz!
Mmmm. this looks so good. And I completely agree with your hubby. You can never have too many peas and mushrooms! This dish is worth every calorie.
Oh, and talk about beautiful photography, that shot of the peas is absolutely gorgeous!
I am delighted that you were able to stop by and have tea with me today. Of course I have followed you right back over here to take a look at your wonderful Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas. I sure am glad you have an extra recipe for me. I hope that you will be able to bring a dish to my Full Plate Thursday. Thank you for sharing and you have a great week!
This looks delightful! I haven’t cooked a lot with orzo.. I can’t wait to try!
Love your blog! Susan http://www.ugogrrl.com
Thanks so much for coming to visit me — happily returning the follow! I adore Italian food, art, the language … 🙂
wow, definitely a splurge, but it looks like it’s worth it! This sounds amazing!
Ciao Soul Sister! I too am so glad you found me! I’m looking forward to perusing your blog!
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I’ve enjoyed looking around yours–your photography is just beautiful and your layout is among the most attractive I’ve seen. 🙂 Following now!
This is perfect for Lent Roz! You know I love the creamy, cheesy, garlicky sauce.
Happy Ash Wednesday!
I don’t believe in diets, so I’ll be more than happy to indulge in this recipe without an ounce of guilt. Ha! Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop.