Baked Cheesy Orzo with Chicken
Our baked cheesy orzo recipe is your new favorite casserole. Make this dish with chicken and your choice of seasonal veggies and seasonings.
When we tested this recipe, asparagus was not just in season—it was on sale—so we went wild with those savory little asparagus spears, Italian blend shredded cheese and chicken.
If you’re not used to cooking with wine, this is a good starter recipe for first-timers. And it’s a great way to rid yourself of chardonnay that has overstayed it’s welcome in the fridge, but if that’s not your style, you can also use vermouth, sherry, madeira or port. Any of these will add a special zip of flavor to the finished product!
Baked Cheesy Orzo Recipe
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves, or 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, or additional chicken broth
- 1 lb orzo pasta
- 4 oz cream cheese, ½ package
- 1 1/2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese, shredded
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
- 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs, seasoned
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, coat a 13" x 9" baking dish with cooking spray then set aside. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat then add the oil. When oil is hot, add chicken then cook for 3–4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme then cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add wine and continue cooking until liquid is reduced by half. Transfer chicken and wine mixture into a large bowl then cover to keep warm.
- Return skillet to heat, which should be set to medium-high. Add chicken broth then let it come to a boil. Stir in orzo then return liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low then simmer orzo for 7 minutes—the orzo will not be cooked completely through at this point.
- Cut cream cheese into 1" cubes then add to orzo. Stir until melted and completely combined then remove skillet from heat and stir in Italian blend cheese. Combine orzo and chicken mixture then stir to integrate the ingredients.
- Fold asparagus into mixture then transfer into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top of casserole with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake 25–30 minutes until sides are bubbly and the top turns light golden brown. Let the casserole rest 5 minutes before serving and enjoy!