As I’ve mentioned in this space before, sometimes I get a little “enthusiastic” in the produce section. In the fall this usually translates to miscellaneous squashes making their way to my countertop. I had a butternut squash on hand and wanted to mix things up from my go-to preparations (soup or roasted), and boy oh boy, did this turn out to be a winner. Creamy, cheesy, carb-y deliciousness!
My whole family loved this dish. Sort of a grown-up mac and cheese of sorts, you could say. We ate it as an entree, but it would make a great side dish, too (especially for entertaining!). If you wanted to make a smaller batch or make it more vegetable heavy, I recommend only cooking half the package of orzo (cook about one cup instead of two) and keeping the amounts of vegetables and sauce the same.
I made this recipe a few weeks ago, and typing up this post makes me wish we were having it tonight! If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to add “butternut squash” to my shopping list… enjoy!
- 16 oz package orzo
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/4" cubes)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese (the kind in a tub, not the powdery kind in a shaker)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup packed spinach, chopped very small
- Cook orzo according to package directions and reserve about two cups of cooking water
- While the orzo is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat
- Add the onions to the hot oil and cook until they begin to become translucent
- Add the butternut squash and cook about six more minutes, stirring occasionally
- Move the vegetables to the edge of the pan, creating space in the center
- Add the butter to the center and once it's mostly melted, add the flour and cook for a minute or two
- Pour in the milk while whisking to dissolve the flour and butter mixture
- Add the parmesan cheese and black pepper and whisk again until melted
- Stir the entire vegetable and sauce mixture together, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan
- Add the cooked orzo to the pan and stir very well
- If the mixture seems "tight", add the starchy cooking water from the orzo a half cup at a time until it's the desired consistency.