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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. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: mozzarella, orzo, pasta, pot luck party
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 289kcal


  • 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


  • In a pot of boiling salted water, boil the orzo until it is al dente, drain it well in a colander. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add remaining mozzarella over the top of the orzo.
  • 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.


Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 171mg