Baked-Mozzarella-Orzo Recipe

Baked Mozzarella Orzo

This is a family favorite that is also a crowd pleaser to take to pot luck parties. It is an upscale or grown-up version of basic macaroni and cheese. It can be made ahead and reheated before serving. 

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword mozzarella, orzo, pasta, pot luck party
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 servings


  • 1 pound orzo uncooked
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup College Inn chicken broth
  • 35 ounce can plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 3/4 pound shredded mozzarella I add more mozzarella, up to 2 cups to get the top extra crusty


  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, boil the orzo until it is al dente, drain it well in a colander. 

  2. In a large heavy skillet, cook the onion in the oil and the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the celery and cook the mixture, stirring for 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the flour, cook the mixture, stirring for 3 minutes, and then stir in the broth, the tomatoes, chopping them up with a spoon, the basil, and the cayenne.

  4. Simmer the mixture, stirring, for 5 minutes, stir in the cooked orzo, 1/2 pound of the mozzarella and salt to taste, and transfer the mixture to a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

  5. Add remaining mozzarella over the top of the orzo.

  6. Bake the orzo in the middle of a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until heated through and slightly browned and crisp on top.