Little orzo pasta is cooked in broth until al dente and then married with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce with tiny bits of broccoli for a healthy and super fast side dish.
This cheesy broccoli orzo recipe would be our 3rd orzo recipe on this site. I have more, seriously. One that has sundried tomatoes in it, but I wanted to get this specific recipe on the site because it is super easy, fast and will quickly become one of your favorite side dishes.
Our Creamy Garlic Orzo uses parmesan cheese and it’s seriously off the hook good. But this time I wanted to try using a bolder cheese like cheddar. I love the combination of cheddar and broccoli. And apparently all you do as well because our Cheddar and Broccoli Soup recipe has SHOT up to #3 on our site!
So why not combine those flavors and use them in a side dish with orzo I say?
My sister has mentioned to me that one of her biggest challenges are side dishes. She has an idea of the main entrée but then falls short on what to put with it. It get it. Especially when you have a family that doesn’t agree on anything.
There is something magical about rice and about orzo. It seems to please most palates due to it’s simplicity and mellow flavors. This is a side dish that really goes with just about anything. Chicken, fish, steak. I think it works really well.
What makes this side dish even better is it only takes 15 minutes. That’s faster than the boxed rices which can take up to 25 minutes and you can SMELL the MSG as it’s cooking.
You start by lightly browning the orzo in a large skillet in some oil. This gives it a nice nutty flavor. Add some chicken broth and while that is simmering away, you make the sauce next to it in another saucepan.
But wait … what about the broccoli you ask? Don’t I need to cook that separately too? Nope! That’s simple.
When the orzo has about 5 minutes left to cook, simply lift the lid, give it a good stir and add the broccoli. It will cook with the orzo.
Then pour the cheesy sauce all over it, stir again and your Creamy Cheddar & Broccoli Orzo is ready to serve.Print
- 2 Cups Orzo Pasta
- 2 ½ Cups Organic Chicken Broth
- 2 Cups Organic Broccoli, chopped
- 4 Tablespoons Organic Butter
- ⅓ Cup Organic Onion, diced small
- 1 Clove Organic Garlic, minced
- ¾ Cup Organic Half and Half
- ¾ Cup Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- ¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
- salt and pepper to taste
TO MAKE THE ORZO & BROCCOLI:
- Begin by heating about 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, let it warm up for about a minute. Add the orzo and lightly stir it around the pan so it toasts, this will give the orzo a nutty flavor.
- When the orzo starts to turn golden in color, add the broth starting with just ½ cup. Let the orzo absorb the liquid entirely, then add the rest. Give it a stir, bring to a quick boil and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and let it cook for 10-15 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, give the orzo a quick stir and add the broccoli. Cover again and finish cooking.
TO MAKE THE SAUCE:
- Add the butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s melted add the chopped onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Let that simmer for about 2-3 minutes until it softens.
- Add the half and half and cheddar cheese. Season again with salt and pepper.
- Take the cheese sauce off the heat and add the parmesan cheese. Keep warm until the orzo has finished cooking.
- Add the creamy sauce to the cooked orzo and stir.
- Serve warm.