Baked Orzo with Pesto and Peas is a lovely Italian-inspired spring main dish or side dish that's easily made ahead of time! Perfect on the side with Chicken Milanese!
Spring is crazy early this year here! My husband harvested our first asparagus spear yesterday and our chives and mint are peaking their lovely flavorful heads out of the ground.
As I mentioned in the Butternut Squash, Leek and Gruyere Tart post, we're really feeling the pressure of using up what we froze or stored from last growing season. We still have tons of basil pesto in our freezer so I loved being able to use an entire container of it here.
How to make Baked Orzo with Pesto and Peas:
Spray a small baking dish (like an 8 x 8-inch square) with cooking spray.
Combine cooked orzo, peas, prosciutto, cream or half-and-half, pesto, mascarpone and half the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper to taste.
Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Let rest 5 minutes then serve.
This recipe is very forgiving and will also work with any small pasta shape such as shells or ditalini. You could certainly use rice, too!
Mascarpone is simply Italian cream cheese. It's a bit more expensive than traditional American-style cream cheese but it's a lovely addition to this dish. Whipped cream cheese will also work and feel free to substitute diced ham for the prosciutto.
Not everyone has prosciutto and mascarpone cheese on hand, but I'm one of those bizarre people who often will!
If you're not a "pea person," spinach or broccoli would also work. Hmmm..... How about spinach or broccoli pesto? See? This baked orzo dish is forgiving and totally adaptable.
For more cheesy baked pasta dishes, be sure to try my:
- Spaghetti Pie with Three Cheeses
- Baked Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Bacon and Taleggio
- Tomato-Topped Hatch Green Chile Mac and Cheese
Baked Orzo with Pesto and Peas
- cooking spray
- 3 to 3 ½ cups cooked orzo pasta - approximately 2 cups dry orzo pasta
- 1 cup peas - fresh or thawed if frozen
- 3 ounces prosciutto - chopped
- ¾ cup heavy cream - or half-and-half
- ¾ cup prepared pesto
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese - or 4 ounces ricotta or cream cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese - divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a small baking dish (like an 8 x 8-inch square) with cooking spray.
- Combine cooked orzo, peas, prosciutto, cream or half-and-half, pesto, mascarpone and half the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Let rest 5 minutes then serve.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
Sharon Rigsby says
Wow, this dish has all of my favorite things, orzo, mascarpone, prosciutto, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and pesto. What's not to love? Comfort food at it's finest! Can't wait to try this recipe!
PS: Glad your house is almost back to normal. Soon it will all be a distant memory!
Lynne Curry says
I've been craving pasta alla carbonara, and this sounds like a baked version with those same addicting flavors. I'm with you on using up what I've stored in the freezer before spring comes with a whole new round! Good luck getting your house back in order.
Thanks, Lynne! We're working hard at it--both at getting to things we stored from last growing season and getting our house in order. Hopefully we'll accomplish both soon!!!
Elaine @ Dishes Delish says
Yum! I love mascarpone cheese. This pesto orzo looks very yummy!
I love all the cheese in addition to the pesto in this dish. I cant wait to serve this on a cold night. Perfect comfort food!
Thanks, Michele! Hope you enjoy!