April 2, 2010

Baked Orzo with Fontina

One thing that my mom always nags me about is the fact that I would buy a lot of ingredient for one recipe and fill the fridge with leftovers that I never use again. So for my previous recipe, Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables, I had to buy fontina cheese and smoked mozzarella. I really tried to buy only the amount I need so I would be left with leftovers, however the salesman mistakenly double estimated the amount I needed. Since both cheeses were pretty pricey, I really didn't want them to go to waste. Fortunately after a little search on the internet I was able to find Giada's Baked Orzo recipe that uses both fontina and mozzarella! I had to do a slight modification because the recipe uses fresh mozzarella instead of smoked version.

Baked Orzo with Fontina (with modifications)
(from Giada De Laurentiis)

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 of sliced carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Bring the vegetable 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 1 tsp of dried thyme (optional). Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

Post-tasting note: We absolutely loved this dish. The combination of marsala wine, mushrooms and heavy cream was divine. I used sweet marsala wine so it gave the dish a really subtle sweetness to it. I made this dish two days ago, and ate the leftover for lunch yesterday during the Arsenal-Barca champions league quarterfinal match... great time!

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