Saturday, February 2, 2008

Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas

I was watching Giada's Everyday Italian this morning and got another inspiration. If you haven't guess it by now, I'm a big fan of Giada. She was making a steak dinner meal but what caught my eye (or stomach rather) was the baked orzo. You can check out the recipe here. The Mister agreed that it sounded really good and would make a very nice side dish for the roast chicken he was going to make for dinner.

We decided to pop into BevMo to get a bottle of Marsala wine (and Madeira wine for another dish that I have in mind). Then off to the grocery store. It didn't take too long to make it, pretty close to the recipe's prescribed time. If you want to make this ahead of time, you can time the baking so that it comes out just as dinner is being served. It really is delicious when it's hot and all that cheese to melted.

We were wonderfully surprised how delicious this dish was. It's rustic and the marry of the cream and Marsala wine is perfect. We just wanted to keep eating it. Since I've never cooked with Marsala wine before, I wasn't sure how "winey" the dish would taste. I've made other dishes using red wine where the wine taste overpowered the entire dish. So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I wasn't too worried since I felt the 1/2 cup of heavy cream would mellow out the wine flavor. I tasted the Marsala wine and it was very sweet and milder than a typical red.

As far as making the dish, I pretty much followed the recipe except that I did add about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to the orzo because I wanted a little more saltiness to it without adding more salt. Perfect.

Here is a picture of the mixture in the pan without the bread crumbs.

Here's a picture with the bread crumbs.

And here's the final product. If you look at the bottom of the picture, you can see creaminess of the orzo and mushrooms.

BTW, this was a lot for 2 people and we had 2 healthy helpings each. Just slightly more than half a pan leftover. Good for 1-2 more meals.

The Mister said this was a keeper. Only request he made was that I add a little more peas next time.

Giada served hers on the side with steak although I think this could be made into a 1 dish meal. Perhaps add some grilled chicken before baking, or some hot Italian sausage. I think it would also go well with duck, perhaps a little duck confit? I think even grilled fish would work nicely served on top of the orzo.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.


Peeved Michelle said...

I bookmarked this ages ago. Why haven't I tried it yet?

Barefoot Plumies said...

Hi Michelle and thanks for stopping by! As much as we loved this side, I haven't made it again since. I also think this is more of a cooler weather side dish. And the holiday season will be here before you know it. Maybe you'll find an opportunity to make it then and if you do, I'd love to hear how you liked it.