Creamy Blue Cheese Orzo

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Creamy Blue Cheese Orzo“Orzo” in Italian means barley, the grain. “Orzo” is also the name of a pasta shape—it looks like a big piece of rice. In Italy, if you’re referring to the pasta, you say “orzo pasta.” If you’re referring to barley, you say “orzo.” In English, we already have a word for barley—coincidentally, it’s “barley.” Having a separate word allows us to simply refer to “orzo pasta” as “orzo.” Think of all the ink we’ve saved!

  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes


  • 3 qt water
  • 1 lb dry orzo pasta
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 4 Tbsp (½ stick) butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded, divided
  • 1 cup Gorgonzola or other crumbly blue cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta and 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the pasta does not stick to the pot. Drain the pasta, and rinse with cold water to ensure the pasta does not overcook. Set aside.
  3. Place a skillet over medium heat and add butter. When it melts completely, sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine completely. Continue to whisk the mixture for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while continuing to whisk briskly,
  4. to ensure the sauce is smooth with no lumps. Stir in pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally for 6 minutes.
  5. To the skillet, add ½ cup of the Parmesan and all the Gorgonzola. Melt the cheese into the sauce (some lumps of blue cheese is okay) and continue to simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the mixture to a large mixing bowl. To the mixing bowl, stir in the parsley and the drained orzo.
  6. Coat the bottom and sides of a baking dish with olive oil. Pour the mixing bowl contents into the baking dish and top with the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden.
  7. Allow the casserole to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving heaping spoonfuls. Try to include some of the chewy top with every serving.

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