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+ servings

Baked Orzo with Broccolini, Sausage and Fontina

Author - Serena Wolf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Yields: 4 generous servings


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 10-12 ounces uncooked spicy Italian turkey sausage casings removed
  • cups whole wheat orzo Yes, you can use regular orzo if you like.
  • bunches broccolini cut into 1-inch pieces (You should end up with about 4½ cups chopped broccolini)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • cups grated Fontina cheese
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese divided (You can also use Parmesan if you prefer.)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs


  • Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. When hot add the shallot and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until the shallots become translucent and the garlic is fragrant. (Be very careful not to burn the garlic peeps!)
  • Add the sausage to the pan and cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
  • Add the orzo to the boiling water. Cook for 6 minutes and then add the broccolini to the pot. Cook for 2 more minutes and strain immediately.
  • Add the orzo and broccolini to the skillet with the sausage. Set aside while you prepare the cheese sauce.
  • Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, whisk in the flour. Cook your roux, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, whisking periodically (about 2-3 minutes). Lower to a simmer, and cook for 4-5 minutes, whisking continuously until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and add the Fontina. Whisk until fully incorporated and then whisk in ¼ cup grated Pecornino Romano, the red pepper flakes and lemon zest. Taste and add a little salt if necessary.
  • Pour your cheese sauce over the orzo mixture and stir to combine.
  • Transfer the orzo to a casserole dish and top with the remaining ¼ cup Pecorino Romano and the Panko breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.
  • Spoon orzo into bowls and serve warm.