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Mediterranean Baked Orzo
with steamed artichoke / pesto aioli

Active: 35 Total: 70

This baked pasta dish is made with rice-shaped orzo, cheese, and a Mediterranean tomato sauce. Because orzo are so small, they don't need to be pre-cooked before baking. With steamed artichokes on the side, this seasonal meal that was last featured in 2017 is perfect for early spring.

Ingredients

Servings:
4
Metric
Steamed Artichokes with Pesto Aioli:
  • Artichokes - 4, trimmed
  • Lemon juice - 2 tsp + 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf (opt) - 1
  • Pesto, store-bought - 1 Tbsp
  • Mayonnaise - 1/4 cup
Mediterranean Baked Orzo:
  • Onions, medium - 1, chopped
  • Bell peppers, fire-roasted - 3/4 cup, chopped
  • Cheese, fresh mozzarella - 5 oz, cubed
  • Zucchini - 1 lb, chopped
  • Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp
  • Tomato paste - 3 Tbsp
  • Pesto, store-bought - 1/4 cup
  • Italian seasoning - 1 tsp
  • Pasta, uncooked orzo - 1 cup
  • Stock, any type - 1 3/4 cups

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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Prep

  1. Artichokes - If prepping right before cooking, get water boiling so that you can start steaming artichokes before continuing with prep. Trim artichokes. Alternatively, you can steam artichokes in an Instant Pot for 9 to 15 minutes at high pressure and do a manual release. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
  2. Onions / Bell peppers / Cheese / Zucchini - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

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Make

  1. Heat oven to 400F / 204C degrees.
  2. Fill a large stockpot with 1" / 2.5 cm of water. Season with some salt and add the first portion of lemon juice and bay leaf (if using). Place a steamer basket (if you don't have a steamer, you can simmer the artichokes directly in the water) over the water. Put the lid on the stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. (Alternatively, you can steam artichokes in an Instant Pot for 9 to 15 minutes at high pressure and do a manual release.)
  3. When water is boiling, reduce to a simmer. Place artichokes, stem-side up, over simmering water. Cover and allow artichokes to steam until the leaves can easily be pulled from the choke, 35 to 60 minutes (depending on the size of the artichokes). Check the artichokes every 10 minutes or so and add additional water, if needed. (Watch this video to see how to steam artichokes.)
  4. While artichokes steam, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil and then onions and zucchini with a pinch of salt. Saute until very tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add bell peppers, tomato paste, pesto (the portion for the orzo), Italian seasoning, and orzo. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour stock over top and bring to a simmer. Stir in mozzarella and cover with a lid. Bake, covered, until orzo is tender, 13 to 16 minutes.
  6. While artichokes and orzo cook, make pesto aioli. Combine pesto (the portion for the artichokes), mayonnaise, and the second portion of lemon juice.
  7. Serve artichokes with pesto aioli for dipping (again, check out this video for tips on enjoying every last bite of an artichoke). Enjoy with orzo on the side.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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Reviews

Ratings

Original (37)
Gluten-free (3)
Paleo (2)
Vegetarian (8)

Most Helpful

No oven needed. I left it covered on the stove and it came out perfect. The artichokes were fantastic!

By: Marcia
Posted: Mar 28, 2021
Diet: Original
1 Helpful

31 reviews

Didn't buy the artichokes, but did buy canned ones to throw in the orzo. SO DELICIOUS.

By: Angela
Posted: May 20, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Super easy. I might use shredded mozzarella instead of fresh because the fresh seemed to clump up instead of melt evenly. Added some of our leftover bruchetta to it - adds some protein and kept the flavor. Didn't have artichokes, so roasted brussel sprouts instead. Used red pesto instead of green pesto - liked how that turned out.

By: Jennifer
Posted: May 04, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

I added some fresh garlic and a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes to the orzo. Like others said, this also turned out a little soupy, but I wasn't exact with my liquid measurements. This was yummy on its own, but I threw in some grilled sausage at the end, which I feel enhanced the flavor.

By: Maggie
Posted: Apr 30, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Good and easy bake. I added canned white cannellini beans because I thought we would miss the protein, which was a good match for the dish.

By: Christy
Posted: Apr 25, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Forgot the buy the artichokes. Still was delicious!

By: Maegan
Posted: Apr 18, 2021
Diet: Paleo
0 Helpful

Delicious. I skipped steaming artichokes and instead adding canned artichokes to the orzo.

By: Chelsea
Posted: Apr 08, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful