Lightened-up Spinach Parmesan Orzo!

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I tried Thai food for the first time (really good!), had some friends over for drinks, and soaked up a little sunshine. I also got the chance to try this Pinterest recipe that I had been meaning to make for awhile. I love anything involving cheesy pasta, and I had never cooked orzo before, so I was excited to try it! I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my tastes and made some breaded chicken to go with it. It came out delicious!

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Ingredients (makes 6 servings)

  • 3 1/2 cups uncooked orzo ( use whole wheat if you can find it!)
  • 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond!)
  • 2-3 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish
  1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add half of the flour to form a roux and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add about 1/2 cup of the milk to the pot and whisk to work out any lumps from the roux. When lumps are worked out, add the remaining milk and flour and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add chopped spinach to sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes or until spinach has cooked down. Remove sauce from heat.
  5. Stir parmesan cheese into sauce. When cheese has melted, add cooked orzo to sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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All the ingredients, ready to go! [Pardon those cupcakes in the back…]

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Cooking up a LOT of orzo

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Stirring milk in with the roux

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Add in as much spinach as youd like!

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Stir in cheese! Yummm

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Finished product!

** To make the breaded chicken, I simply dipped chicken breast tenderloins in a mix of olive oil/garlic powder/Italian seasoning to coat both sides, then dredged them in Italian breadcrumbs and baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Simple and delicious breaded chicken!

Simple and delicious breaded chicken!

Side Note: the original recipe called for 2 1/2 cups orzo, which I assumed meant uncooked…so I decided to double it since I had two boxes of orzo (each were 2 1/2 cups). So I doubled every other ingredient, but then realized I had a BOAT LOAD of orzo and not quite as much sauce. Hence why I mentioned to use 3 1/2 cups UNCOOKED orzo, because that cooks to about 6 cups of orzo haha. I ended up with about 9 cups total of pasta, so I saved what I didn’t add to the parmesan sauce to make another orzo recipe later in the week. Just goes to show how unpredictable cooking can be sometimes…

Stay tuned for another orzo recipe soon!

Yup...I made THISSSS much!

Yup…I made THISSSS much!

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