Cheesy Baked Orzo with Mushrooms and Peas

Cheesy Baked Orzo with Mushrooms and Peas is orzo pasta, baby bella mushrooms, and peas baked in a parmesan cheese sauce, topped with crispy, golden panko breadcrumbs.  It’s time to enjoy macaroni and cheese orzo style!

cheesy baked orzo with mushrooms and peas

 

Orzo is my go-to pasta.  When I’m making a pasta dish for a crowd, I love making my Greek Orzo Pasta Salad.  When I want a quick side dish, I love my Orzo Mac & Cheese .  I just can’t get enough of the stuff.

cheesy baked orzo with mushrooms and peas

I decided that I wanted to do a baked macaroni and cheese version, and that’s where this dish came in.  It’s prepared just like regular macaroni and cheese, beginning with a homemade cheese sauce that’s ready in about 10 minutes.  I opted to use parmesan cheese here, but you can use your favorite, whatever it may be.  Make it as cheesy as you like, too.  😀

cheesy baked orzo with mushrooms and peas

Let’s talk about the yummy add-ins for this dish — sauteed cremini mushrooms and green peas.  I feel like I always use cremini mushrooms and peas together, because they go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Really.  It’s like I have to pair them.  Zucchini would be great here, as well if you’re fresh out of peas, and they’re terrific with the mushrooms, too.  I actually almost went with grated zucchini, but I was lazy and decided frozen peas were so much easier.  This dish has enough steps in it without adding one more.  Gotta take a short cut when you can! 😉

cheesy baked orzo with mushrooms and peas

This dish was extremely family friendly, and it’s a different way to enjoy macaroni and cheese.  I’m all for new dishes, especially when they include my orzo.  🙂

cheesy baked orzo with mushrooms and peas

Cheesy Baked Orzo with Mushrooms and Peas
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Cheesy Baked Orzo with Mushrooms and Peas is orzo pasta, baby bella mushrooms, and peas baked in a parmesan cheese sauce, topped with crispy, golden panko breadcrumbs. It's time to enjoy macaroni and cheese orzo style!
Serves: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low fat or non fat milk
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan or your favorite cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Remaining Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms washed, stemmed, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1¾ cups dried orzo pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9" baking dish with cooking spray.
Prepare the Sauce:
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and whisk until bubbly and golden, about 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and continue whisking until the mixture thickens slightly, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the cheese until melted and smooth. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic, and saute 3 minutes. Add the peas and continue cooking until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the peas are tender, about 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place the cooked orzo pasta in a large bowl. Add the mushroom and pea mixture, and pour over the sauce. Stir gently until well combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs over the top, and spray the breadcrumbs with cooking spray in order to get them nice and brown. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. If the top hasn't browned completely, place the dish under the broiler for about 1 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to prevent burning. Cool about 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Notes
If you like your macaroni and cheese cheesier, simply add more cheese to the sauce!

Add shredded or diced chicken to make this a main dish.

Recipe from Flavor the Moments.