Growing up in quite the Italian family, there was never a shortage of pasta at our house. From weeknight dinners to special occasions to backyard barbecues, you name it and it was there. While I don’t eat pasta quite as often these days, I do still absolutely love to play around with different flavors and combinations. This broccoli and bell pepper filled baked orzo is cheesy and comforting without being overly heavy, which is my preference this time of the year as the weather gets warmer and warmer.
In a way I feel like I am almost eating the rainbow with this dish. You have red and orange from the colored bell peppers, green from the broccoli and purple from the red onion! Making for one very pretty looking casserole.
While the orzo is cooking in a saucepan until al dente, the vegetables are sautéed with a touch of balsamic vinegar and honey, giving the dish a little something to make it interesting, without being overpowering.
Once cooked, the orzo is added to the skillet, along with a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, which help give the pasta just enough moisture so that it won’t dry out while baking. Some shredded mild cheddar cheese is also added into the mix, which pairs wonderfully with the broccoli.
The mixture is then transferred to a baking dish, where it’s topped with some mozzarella and then baked until warm and nicely melted. Now, if you have an oven-safe skillet you can use that here, skipping the step of transferring the pasta to a baking dish. And less dishes to wash is always a good thing in my book!
If you have an oven-safe skillet, you can use that here instead of bothering with a baking dish. Follow the directions as written and just sprinkle the mozzarella right on top of the pasta in the skillet (and then transfer to the oven to bake).
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