Baked Creamy Orzo and Spinach
This is a perfect accompaniment to ham. Since it multiplies well, I have made it by the vat-full, and yet there is never enough.
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
two 10 ounce packages frozen spinach
2 garlic cloves
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup canned chicken broth
2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (about 4 ounces)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 slices rye or white bread
2 tablespoons butter
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the salt and orzo and boil 4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook 5 minutes more or until the orzo is al dente. Drain the mixture in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
Mince and mash the garlic to a paste with ¼ teaspoon salt and add put it in a large bowl. Add the cream, broth, cheese, pepper, nutmeg, orzo and spinach and combine well. Transfer the mixture to a buttered baking dish.
In a food processor blend the bread and butter together until crumbly and sprinkle on top of the orzo. The orzo can be made up to this point and frozen, covered well.
Preheat oven to 350’F. Bake the orzo, uncovered for 1 hour or until golden and bubbly around the edge.
From Leslie Glover Pendleton