Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Moroccan Baked Orzo - sorta

Cooler weather + hectic days = casserole!  Well, that and crock pot cooking, of course.  When I saw Lauren's Greek Orzo with Lamb over at Healthy Delicious, I knew I had to try it right away.  Not being a fan of lamb though, I opted for some extra lean ground beef and made a few other modifications.  Oh, and I finally found a whole wheat orzo.  Pricey, but it's the only one I've seen.

Today's Whole Foods haul:

Now, I must say, I have no idea if they serve this sort of thing in Morocco, but the smell of the various spices combining while it was cooking just made me think of all things Moroccan.  You should feel free to call it whatever you like though.  :-) 

Baked Orzo

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 lb whole wheat orzo
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (or more)
2 tsp dried oregano
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups baby spinach
salt, to taste
asiago cheese, shredded, to top

Heat oven to 375.  Prepare your orzo, drain and set aside.  I mixed in a bit of olive oil so it wouldn't clump.

Cook the ground beef over medium heat until done.  Remove from pan, reserving any cooking liquid in the pan.  Cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes in same pan until softened.  Add the oregano, tomatoes, wine, cumin, cinnamon and tomato paste, stirring to combine.  Cook for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes start to form a thick sauce.  Add the beef back in, as well as the spinach and salt.  Cook until spinach begins to wilt. 
Add the beef mixture to the orzo and stir to combine. Spread into baking pan and top with asiago cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until top gets bubbly and browned.  This should be enough for 10 or more healthy sized servings.
I will say that my entire house smelled delightful while cooking and for a while afterwards. We really enjoyed this dish. All except the little princess that is (what else is new). But, I made her pick out the meat and pasta to eat.

This would go great with a nice cool cucumber and dill salad, and maybe a little added red pepper flake (note to self).  Next time I have to attend a potluck, this is the dish I'll be bringing - along with the aforementioned salad.

Happy eating!!


  1. I’m not a fan of Lamb either and never had Orzo before. That looks yummy; it has all the ingredients that I enjoy. And I see Pumpkin Pie Spice, love the smell.

  2. Mmm...sounds like a delightful dish. I love the asiago cheese on top! I made some ground lamb kabobs and my daughter liked it until she found out it was lamb.

  3. Looks so good! I have been trying to find whole wheat orzo and can't...I think I need to look harder now!

  4. Thanks ladies.

    Jenn - I had a hard time too. When I finally found this at Whole Foods, I had to pay nearly $4 for the package. Eeek!

  5. This looks delicious! I'd have to keep out the meat, but I'm sure I'd love it! Great job. =)

  6. Ree - I think beans would be good with this too. Are you vegan? I'll have to go check your blog now. LOL