Another broccoli and cheese recipe, yes! An elite combination, if you ask me. This Broccoli Cheddar Orzo makes a delicious side dish, but it’s hearty and filling enough to be a meatless main course. Orzo is a pasta that I love but always forget exists; it’s pasta in the shape of really big grains of rice, pretty much. It’s a key component of my Tuscan Kale Soup.
Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Broccoli Cheddar Orzo recipe:
- Broccoli: I’ve become really lazy lately, so I’ve been purchasing bags of broccoli florets that I wash and chop down into bite-sized pieces. You can use fresh or frozen (thawed) broccoli, just make sure you have two pounds of it.
- Orzo: It’s pasta, shaped like rice! In my experience orzo cooks much more quickly than other types of pasta so be mindful when you’re making this Broccoli Cheddar Orzo.
- Onion, garlic: Aromatics. You can substitute with powdered versions if you like.
- Vegetable broth, whole milk: I used vegetable broth because my vegetarian kid was having this as a main course. Chicken broth would work, too. I wouldn’t do beef, I think it’d be a bit overpowering. The amount of milk will depend on how you want the final consistency. I generally use just under two cups, maybe like 1 2/3 C, but if you’d like a looser, more “pasta-in-sauce” consistency use the whole two cups.
- Lemon juice: Just a bit, to bring some brightness to the dish. Not enough to make it lemony.
- Cheddar cheese: I used sharp, but medium or extra sharp would work just fine. Follow your tastebuds.
- Salted butter: For sauteing the aromatics and building the roux. You can use oil instead.
- All-purpose flour: For thickening purposes.
- Garlic powder, Kosher salt, onion powder, seasoned salt, ground white pepper, dried oregano, cracked black pepper, ground mustard: Our Broccoli Cheddar Orzo seasonings. The garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt go on the broccoli before it roasts. The others are simmered with the orzo.
How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Orzo
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Broccoli Cheddar Orzo recipe:
- Mmm, broccoli. Preheat your oven to 475°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Either directly on the sheet pan or in a large mixing bowl, season the broccoli with garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt. Drizzle in the grapeseed oil, and toss to coat. Once the broccoli is all seasoned and oiled, spread it out into a single layer on the prepared sheet pan. Place it in the oven, and roast for 8 minutes. In the meantime, start on the orzo portion of the Broccoli Cheddar Orzo.
- Sauté the aromatics. Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted add the onion. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until softened slightly, then stir in the garlic and continue simmering for two minutes. At this point, check on your broccoli. Pull it from the oven and flip so the other side gets charred. Put it back in the oven and continue roasting for 7-8 more minutes.
- It’s roux time! Sprinkle the flour over the onions and garlic. Stir together until there is no more dry flour. If you need to add a bit more butter or some oil that’s fine. Once the butter and flour have melded, go ahead and pour in all of the vegetable broth and one cup of the whole milk. Next, stir in the orzo, and all remaining dry seasonings: white pepper, seasoned salt, ground mustard, dried oregano, and black pepper, then stir in the lemon juice.
- Simmer. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir again, then cover with a lid. Simmer the orzo for 7 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent sticking. Your broccoli should be ready, so pull it from the oven and rest it on the counter for now.
- Add the broccoli. After 7 minutes give the orzo another stir, then add the broccoli and all of the remaining milk. Simmer the Broccoli Cheddar Orzo ’til the orzo is tender – about 3-5 minutes more.
- Add the cheese. When the orzo is cooked through add the sour cream and shredded cheese. Stir to combine well, then put the lid back on and turn off the heat. Dassit! Give a good stir before serving.
Check out my Other Broccoli Cheese Recipes!
An elite combination, as I said earlier.
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