Orzo Mac & Cheese

Hi Friends!! Whisk & Dine the blog is officially up and running, and I could not be more excited to start sharing recipes with you all!

I went back and forth with what recipe to share as the inaugural post and finally landed on Orzo Mac & Cheese. Mostly because macaroni and cheese feels like a warm hug on a cold day, and here in Philadelphia the cold days just won’t quit.

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My sister was the inspiration for this recipe…and by inspiration, I mean she was the one who wanted to try a macaroni and cheese recipe using orzo, and in true older sister fashion, I took over the recipe creation (sorry Nik!).

We started this recipe by making a classic bechamel sauce, and to that we added the cheese, lots and lots of cheese. Three types to be exact, but who’s counting?

First came the cheddar. We used a nice sharp Irish cheddar, and followed that with fontina, which I love for it’s mellow flavors and melting quality. Lastly we added parmesan. Parm is not normally a cheese I would put in my mac & cheese, but the salty nuttiness really rounds out the flavors nicely.

After we dunked some tortilla chips into the cheese sauce taste tested the cheese sauce, it was on to the orzo!

The orzo was cooked according to the directions on the box, except we used vegetable stock rather than water, and grated in a little parmesan to finish it off…because, why not?
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Now this is where the magic happened. We poured the cheese sauce over the cooked orzo and folded them together until completely combined. This glorious mixture was then divided into four ramekins and topped with a mixture of toasted panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper…it was then promptly devoured.

I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as we did!

Orzo Mac & Cheese

YIELD: 4 Servings

PREP TIME: 5-10 Minutes

COOK TIME: 20 Minutes

TOTAL TIME: 25-30 Minutes

INGREDIENTS

Cheese Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 Cup Grated Sharp Cheddar
  • ½ Cup Grated Fontina
  • ¼ Cup Grated Parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Orzo:

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Orzo
  • 2.5 Cups Vegetable Stock (or Water)
  • Salt
  • Grated Parmesan (as much or as little as you’d like)

Breadcrumb Topping:

  • ¼ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs (roughly)
  • ¼ Teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)

DIRECTIONS

To Make the Cheese Sauce:

  1. Using a box grater, grate cheddar, fontina, and parmesan into a bowl and set aside
  2. In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, add butter and flour and cook the roux until a paste forms – this should only take a minute or two
  3. Next, pour in milk and begin whisking the mixture continuously until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn heat off and stir in cheeses
  5. Season with salt and pepper, give it a taste, and adjust as needed

To Make the Orzo:

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo and saute until lightly browned
  2. Stir in vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer until liquid is absorb and the orzo is tender – about 15 minutes
  4. Mix in parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste

To Toast Bread Crumbs:

  1. Over low heat, add an even layer of panko breadcrumbs to a saute pan and toast until lightly browned
  2. Remove from heat and mix in garlic powder, salt, and pepper

Mac & Cheese Assembly:

  1. Pour hot cheese sauce* over cooked orzo and fold gently until thoroughly combined
    • *If necessary, reheat cheese sauce over low heat before adding to orzo
  2. Taste mixture and adjust seasoning if desired
  3. Divide mixture evenly into four ramekins and top with toasted breadcrumbs
  4. ENJOY!

 

 

 

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