This is one of my favorite recipes from Giada de Laurentiis from the Foodnetwork. I made it several times before and I wanted to share this great side dish with everyone. It's fairly easy to make and very tasty. It could be made totally vegetarian if you substitute chicken broth for vegetable stock or even well seasoned (with salt) water. Just make sure to season the water enough, that is the only seasoning of your orzo pasta. I used this dish as a side dish with the steaks, and with grilled chicken. You can also make it as a main dish and add pieces of grilled chicken, I'm sure it would taste just great.
Here is what you need to make it:
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
3 TBS butter, + more to grease baking dish
1 onion chopped
8 oz mushroom sliced
1 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz (1 cup) shredded fontina cheese
4 oz (1 cup) diced fresh mozarella cheese
1 cup thawed frozen peas
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the topping we need: 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan and 1 tsp os dried thyme.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, butter 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bring chicken broth to a boil and orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Important is not to overcook the pasta, as it still have to bake in the oven. Do not drain the orzo, just pour the whole thing into a large bowl.
Melt the butter over medium heat, add onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms are turning golden around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add Marsala wine, scrape the bottom of the pan, cook until Marsala ha reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the orzo, add cream, both cheeses, peas, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Pour into the baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of the pasta. bake until golden, about 25 minutes.