Baked Orzo with Tomatoes and Olives

Baked Orzo

This is a nice dish. The creaminess of the orzo goes amazingly well with the acidic nature of the tomato and the alkaline nature of the olive. It’s all about balance my friends.

Keep in mind this isn’t an exquisite recipe. It’d be one I’d serve my family on a Saturday afternoon while they’re in the living room watching DVD’s. Think of it along the lines of a baked ziti.

You will, however, dirty up some dishes. So get your lazy family away from the DVD’s long enough to have them clean up the kitchen.

  • 16 oz orzo pasta
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions (about 1/2 of a medium-large onion)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (5-6 stalks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28oz can of whole plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb of sliced and pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 lb of sliced provolone
  • 1/2 lb of diced mozzarella
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • Italian Parsley (for Garnish)

Make the orzo as recommended by the directions on the box or bag. When complete, pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in your largest skillet (or even a stock pot), heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and garlic, and cook until the onions just start to turn translucent. Add the pasta and fold in well.

Add the whole tomato and olives. Fold in well. Add 1/4 lb of the sliced provolone and 1/4 lb of the diced mozzarella. Mix in well. Spoon pasta mixture into 10″ by 15″ baking dish (a 4-qt dish if I recall correctly). Pour diced tomatoes over top of pasta and place remaining cheese on top of that. Dot with fresh basil sprigs. Place in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serves 8-10

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