Hearty Vegetable and Orzo Casserole


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Makes 6 servings

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

8 ounces butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 onion, chopped fine

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed, and quartered

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound (2 2/3 cups) orzo

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups water

3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)

3 ounces (3 cups) baby arugula

2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Prepping foods ahead of time is key to getting a healthy meal on the table every night. In the new book The Make-Ahead Cook, the chefs at America’s Test Kitchen present more than 150 recipes that can be made in advance. This delicious, vegetarian casserole is made with creamy orzo and fresh vegetables like mushrooms, butternut squash, and arugula. It’s perfect for potluck parties or family gatherings!


1. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add squash and salt and cook until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in onion and mushrooms and cook until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add orzo and stir until coated with butter, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine and cook until completely evaporated, about 1 minute.

2. Transfer orzo mixture to 13-by-9 inch baking dish, stir in broth and water, and let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

3. Wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

4. When ready to cook, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap dish, cover tightly with greased aluminum foil, and bake casserole until orzo is tender, about 40 minutes, stirring thoroughly 3 times during baking.

5. Vigorously stir in 1 cup Parmesan until melted and orzo mixture is thickened and creamy. Stir in arugula, 1 handful at a time, until wilted, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and pine nuts.

6. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve.

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours