This baked orzo recipe is rich and creamy, but there’s no roux to make!
I love a good pasta in cream sauce, and I’d been wanting to see how Darrol Henry likes orzo, so this casserole was sort of a no-brainer. It’s stuffed with veggies and white beans and so good on a chilly fall evening.
Cream sauce is delicious, but traditional cream sauces use…well…cream. They also tend to have a roux for the base. If you’ve ever made a roux, you know that it can be a pain. It’s easy to burn the flour, so you really have to pay close attention while you’re working on it. Paying close attention while cooking is not my thing these days, since I’m often pulling a meal together while trying to stop Darrol from eating that piece of cat food that he found on the floor.
My easy baked orzo recipe uses a roux-free cream sauce that doesn’t require any stovetop cooking at all. It’s all blender, baby!
Baked Orzo in Easy Cream Sauce
- 1 cup dry orzo
- 1 15 ounce can white beans
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1/2 a sweet onion, chopped
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 batch Easy Cream Sauce (see below)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Combine the orzo and beans in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them very well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the orzo is tender, usually 7-9 minutes, depending on the orzo that you bought. When it’s ready, drain, rinse, and transfer to a 2 1/2 quart baking pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Meanwhile, heat the other 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to soften. Add the broccoli and cook until the veggies are soft. This could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on how soft you want them. Since I was making these for a toddler with only 8 teeth, I cooked for the full 10.
- Add the veggies to the pasta that’s already in the pan, then fold in the cream sauce and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving.
Easy Cream Sauce
This is a vegan version of the a traditional velouté sauce, and it’s super rich. Instead of making a roux and simmering on the stove for 15-20 minutes, this version comes together in your blender.
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or vegan butter, melted
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or 5 leaves fresh minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1/2 tablespoon fresh minced
- 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- Combine all of your ingredients in the blender, and puree until smooth.