Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

A wonderfully easy side dish or vegetarian main entree.  The creamy flavors and bright broccoli remind me of a cheesy broccoli soup.  Comforting and delicious!

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Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Keyword: Weeknight Meals
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Denise


  • 3 cups broccoli florets thick stems removed and cut into 1/2-1” pieces
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 16 oz dry orzo
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt less if using broth
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 5 cups water or broth
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese


  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add broccoli.  Cook 3 minutes.  Remove and drain quickly.  You want to quickly blanch broccoli but not overcook.
  • Heat a large skillet or braising pan over medium high heat.  Melt butter.  Add shallot and cook 3-4 minutes.
  • Add orzo, garlic, salt and pepper to pan.  Move around gently in butter and shallots to slightly toast for just a few minutes.  Pour broth or water over orzo.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn heat down to low.  Cook until broth is nearly absorbed.
  • Add heavy cream and lemon juice.  Cook another 4-5 minutes to warm heavy cream and thicken mixture.  Add broccoli and cheese.  Stir into mixture.  Cover and let sit for a few minutes.  The heat from the orzo will warm the broccoli and melt the cheese.  Note that this will thicken very quickly so you want to remove from the heat when there is still some liquid present or it will become too thick.  If mixture becomes too thick, simply add more heavy cream or broth.
  • Taste and adjust salt, pepper as needed.
  • Serve immediately.
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