Blue Cheese Spinach Orzo
Last week I mentioned how my awesome SRC partner had a blue cheese orzo recipe on her blog. FINALLY my garden cooperated and I had all the ingredients needed for this delectably cheesy dish. It’s probably a good thing this wasn’t my SRC pick for July as I made more than a few changes to this dish in order to make it work better for my family. I kept with the basic roux but added some additional spice and complexity to the dish, mostly for fear of the cheese being too overpowering (not that my better half with take issue with that). I also upped the veggies in an attempt to resolve some of the guilt that comes with eating that much amazingly delicious but oh so not healthy blue cheese.
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 vidalia onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, diced
5 basil leaves, diced
2 cups orzo (pre-cooked)
2 cups spinach, well washed and loosely torn
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook until a light caramel color, then slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a low simmer then begin adding the cheese. Season with the two types of pepper, then cover and set aside on low heat.
- Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7-10 minutes, the garlic should be golden and the onion translucent. Add the fresh herbs, cook for an additional 2 minutes and then add to the cheese sauce.
- Cook the orzo according to directions on the pot, drain and return to the hot pot. Stir in the cheese, then mix in the spinach. Season to taste with additional pepper (if needed)
- Serve hot topped with the fresh tomatoes.
I can easily see this dish converting a non-blue cheese person to the light side as the hint of blue cheese is there but it’s not overpowering. Instead everything happily blends together in cheesy harmony! We enjoyed the orzo as our main dish but would also be a great dish for a potluck as it carries well, simple to double (or triple!) and could easily be converted for a slow cooker.