This risoni bake is creamy, cheesy, easy and delicious. Baked orzo with spinach and mushrooms is a pasta bake that’ll please everyone, and it comes together really easily! A delicious vegetarian orzo dish.Jump to Recipe
What is risoni?
Risoni is the same as orzo, a really small rice shaped pasta. In Arabic, we refer to this as “lisan asfoor” which translates to “birds tongue”. It’s because of the way that risoni (orzo) is shaped, literally like a tiny birds tongue.
Risoni is so versatile because it can be cooked like pasta (boiled and drained) or cooked like rice, where it simmers and absorbs the liquid.
Why should I make this risoni bake?
Baked orzo is really simple to prepare. It’s also so filling and hearty, even without any added protein.
Risoni has it’s own distinct texture, a sort of cross between pasta and rice. It’s definitely something you need to try if you haven’t already.
Although creamy, this isn’t too rich at all. That’s because this is made with milk instead of heavy cream, and just enough cheese to enhance the flavors without overwhelming.
Ingredients to make spinach mushroom orzo:
Onion and Garlic
Mushrooms: Either white or brown mushrooms, sliced
Salt and Pepper: Taste and adjust the seasoning as you go
Risoni: Also known as orzo, the little tiny rice shaped pasta
Flour: Just a little all purpose flour for thickening the creamy sauce
Vegetable Broth: Made with bouillon cubes and hot water
Milk: Whole milk is your best bet, to get the maximum creaminess possible
Spinach: I used frozen spinach that I quickly thawed before using. If you want less spinach in this, feel free to halve the amount.
Parmesan Cheese and Mozzarella Cheese: Parmesan cheese is mixed in with the rizoni before baking, and once the rizoni is in the baking dish, you top it with some of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Panko breadcrumbs: A really wonderful way to add some crunch to the top of this baked pasta. You can definitely make this without if you don’t have any on hand.
How to make this dish:
- Heat the olive oil, and saute the onion, and mushroom. Once softened, add the salt and pepper then the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the risoni, and stir for another minute. Sprinkle the flour on top then add the vegetable broth and milk.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 9-11 minutes (or according to package instructions) until the risoni has cooked al dente.
- Remove from heat and stir in spinach and Parmesan cheese, then spread the mixture into a baking dish, and top with shredded mozzarella cheese and Panko breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly, then optionally broil for another couple of minutes to get a deeper color.
How do I cook orzo perfectly?
The way to do it in this recipe is to make sure you are stirring quite frequently while the orzo simmers with the liquids. You don’t want the orzo at the bottom of the pan to burn. If the amount of liquid is reducing too much and the orzo is still too crunchy, just top up the saucepan with a splash of water.
Risoni bake FAQs:
Yes! Feel free to add cooked shredded chicken, chicken mushroom orzo is a perfect pairing. You’d add in the cooked chicken once the risoni is done cooking, before spreading the risoni into a baking dish and topping with mozzarella and panko.
Risoni is made from wheat flour, so it does contain gluten.
Yes! If using Parmesan cheese, use the fresh stuff not the jarred powdery Parmesan. Try adding some feta cheese or creamy goat cheese.
It really is. My kids love how this is sort of like a cross between pasta and rice, and since the spinach is mixed in really well they don’t even mind the green part of this.
Storing leftover risoni (orzo):
Leftovers will last tightly covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.
You can also freeze the cooked orzo, tightly covered for 1-2 months. I’d recommend freezing it in a baking dish before topping with mozzarella and panko. Thaw overnight then top with the cheese and breadcrumbs and bake as directed.
If you liked this recipe, you might like:
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 box button or brown mushrooms, sliced 8 oz, 250 g
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2.5 cups Risoni (Orzo) 500 g, 17 oz, 500g
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 bag frozen spinach, thawed (or half that amount if you want it less spinach-y) 14 oz, 400 g
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 7 oz, 200g
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180C). This is to bake the risoni later!
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and mushroom, and saute several minutes until soft.
- Add the salt and pepper, stir, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the risoni and stir, toasting for a minute.
- Sprinkle the flour on top of this mixture, and stir, then add the vegetable broth and milk.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 9-11 minutes (or according to package instructions) until the risoni has cooked al dente. Keep stirring frequently to avoid the bottom burning, and if pasta absorbs too much liquid while cooking, just add a splash of water
- Remove from heat, stir in the spinach and the Parmesan cheese.
- Transfer the whole mixture to a baking dish, and top with panko breadcrumbs and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbling, then if you want a deeper color, broil for another 1-2 minutes.
- Let the dish rest for just a couple minutes, then enjoy hot!