Cheese Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

A veggie-stuffed orzo dish with summery flavor and cheesy goodness.

Cheese Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

It’s not hard to sell here: marinara sauce, cheese, basil, orzo, and perfectly roasted, tender vegetables.

Cheese Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

The key here is to chop the veggies very small so they cook quickly and evenly, and each pillowy bite of orzo has a little veg in it. No more crunchy, large veggies that turn off our little eaters (and adults too!) – the veggies add flavor and enhance this dish in so many ways.

You can adapt this dish in winter by also including winter veggies like cauliflower or Brussels sprouts and omitting the basil and using some grated parmesan cheese or some sage instead.

Cheese Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

If you want to keep this closer to a one-pot meal, simply sauté the veggies in the same pot you assemble the orzo, sauce, and cheese and skip the sautéing process. I love roasting veggies because it’s hands-free, but that’s just me.

This goes well with great pesto! And crusty bread on the side for dipping. But do you!

Cheese Baked Summer Orzo with Marinara

preparation time fifteen minutes

cooking time 30 minutes

portions 6 People

  • 2 Middle Zucchini, diced
  • 1 big Onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 big red peppers, diced
  • 2 big Carrots, diced small
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon Italian spice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups dry orzo
  • 1 (24 ounces) Jar of Tomato Basil Sauce (I love Raos)
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • a bundle chopped basil for garnish
  • red pepper flakes for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, add zucchini, onion, bell pepper, and carrot. Drizzle with olive oil, season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

  • While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the orzo. Boil a pot of water and once cooked add the orzo. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse. Put aside.

  • Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooked vegetables and set aside. Place a large, wide, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining vegetables, cooked orzo, and tomato sauce, stirring to combine. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese, stir and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and sticky on top. Uncover and immediately garnish with basil, red pepper flakes, and reserved cooked vegetables. Serve warm.

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