Ultimate Comfort Food- Broccoli Cheese Orzo Casserole Bake

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It’s finally winter in San Francisco. It has started raining, the wind has a bitterly cold chill in the air, and the air is crisp and clean. After one of the coldest summers I have ever endured it finally got warm and sunny here in San Francisco in October. We got our “Indian Summer” for about a month and then a storm hit. It poured rain for three days and when it was done, it was Winter. You could just feel it in the air. The birds were silent, and the chill in the air was here to stay. In a way I am sad because I absolutely love Summer, but Winter is an inevitable thing and there are plenty of things to look forward to when it comes:

Thanksgiving

Christmas

Warm Blankets

Hot Cocoa

Fires

and Comfort Food!

Comfort to me is something that is warm, satisfying, and very filling! Growing up in California where our winters are relatively mild, we don’t appreciate comfort food like they do in the Southern States where winters are much harsher. To me comfort food is macaroni and cheese or soup and grilled sandwiches. The day I made this dish it was one of the first cold and rainy days and I was craving something that would warm me up inside. Not wanting to venture out into the storm I decided to make dinner with what we had at home. I looked in the fridge and frowned at the slim pickings. Then my face lit up when I remembered we had cheese! And lots of it! “I’m going to make a cheese bake!” I thought. So I grabbed the cheese, and a few things out of the pantry and came up with this dish! It was really yummy, surprisingly light considering all the cheese I put in it, and really hit the spot! We ate it for dinner with salad the first night and then I took the leftovers, stuffed it in some acorn squash and roasted it and it was even better!

pasta prep1

To make this broccoli cheese orzo casserole bake (I kind made the name up, I know it is kind of a mouthful but technically that is what it is!) I started by boiling a package of orzo. I love orzo, it’s like rice in pasta form! Although I always feel like it’s so hard to chew and I end up swallowing most of it whole!

The next thing I did was prep the rest of the ingredients, I grated my cheese with my nifty cheese grater and I chopped up the broccoli.

pasta prep2

When the pasta was fully cooked I drained it and poured it into my baking dish. I added a can of cream of mushroom soup then I added about a cup or so of cheddar cheese. I mixed it all together and decided I needed more cheese (Hey I was really cold!) so I added about a cup or so of mozzarella. Then I added the broccoli raw because Eddie and I both like our broccoli crunchy and mixed everything all together and patted it down into the dish. If you like your broccoli soft I would blanch it in boiling water first. Pop this in the oven at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 30 minutes. Enjoy with your favorite salad, grilled chicken, or stuff in some squash and roast!

Note: This blog post is featured on the Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipe Carnival at fun and food cafe!

recipe

12 comments:

悉怛多缽怛囉PLANET said...

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RecipeGirl said...

I love the way you present your recipe posts. The step by step is so cute!

Anonymous said...

I came via Tastespotting this evening and have copied down your recipe it sounds delicious. I also have to comment that I am a CA native, lived there for 34 years..in San Jose...that little part right between Cupertino and Saratoga. I was reading your little side bar profile about where you are at and it made me miss home. CA will always be home even though I am now in SC. Nothing compares to the food in CA and the culture as well!!! God Bless~~Melissa D. SC

Coffee and Vanilla said...

I just made bake with broccoli recently as well, instead of the soup I used bechamel and tuna sauce... Must try your recipe one of those days.

Have a good day, Margot

Peter said...

Hello! Love your Broccoli Bake! Looks both delish and quite easy. The perfect combination! I attended Las Lomas H.S. in Walnut Creek and would love to e-Mail you. I have a question about WC, and would prefer asking more privately. If that's OK, please let me know. I'm @ frumiousb at live dot com

Jennifer said...

This looks delicious! You can't go wrong with cheese and pasta. :-)

StephanieInCA said...

That looks insanely good! I swear I can practically smell it.

My favorite comfort food is grilled cheese and tomato soup... here's my "dressed up" recipe, with danish havarti, tomatoes, french bread and roasted tomato and red pepper soup: "http://urbzen.com/2008/11/13/comfort-food-for-grownups/

Mansi said...

ok, this looks great! something I'd love to have in the winter evenings! and I'd like to invite you to send this over to my vegetarian thanksgiving recipe event, as it so fits the theme!:)

trishybee said...

i think i just found a new thanksgiving dish! thanks!!

Kevin said...

Broccoli and cheese is a great combo!

gaga said...

I love orzo and am always looking for new ways to eat it. This looks great. Who can say no to cheese?!?! =)

Kat said...

How would you suggest trying to use frozen broccoli? (I prefer fresh but it' cheaper frozen)