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Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo

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Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo is a warm, cheesy fall dish mixing orzo, roasted butternut squash and a creamy cheese sauce topped with fresh sage. As we approach the holidays this would be a great side dish or an addition to your weeknight meals. You can make this a day or two ahead and heat when you are ready to serve it! 

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo with gold spoon.CHEESY BUTTERNUT SQUASH ORZO

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is in only a few weeks.

I have to say 2022 has really flown by for me. I am not sure why but I blinked and somehow we are approaching the end of the year. 

My Thanksgiving menu this year is going to include today’s Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo because it is just that darn good.

Alongside this orzo dish I am going to pair it with this Herb Butter Roasted Turkey, Roasted Balsamic Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts Apple Goat Cheese Salad and this Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs

The ADA Mideast and I are excited to share this Butternut Squash Orzo Recipe that is packed with delicious creamy cheese giving it protein while making it savory and delicious.

The thing I love most about this recipe is how the sweet roasted butternut squash is paired with the savory, rich cheese and cream. Of course, the icing on top is the orzo. 

Some of my all-time favorite recipes involve orzo and and I know a lot of you love orzo too. 

I especially love this Summer Orzo Pasta Salad, Mediterranean Orzo Pasta, Tomato Feta Tomato Orzo Salad, Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup, and this One Pot Creamy Tomato Herb Orzo.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo ingredients.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THIS CHEESY ORZO?

OLIVE OIL

BUTTERNUT SQUASH

ONION

GARLIC

SAGE LEAVES

ORZO

VEGETABLE BROTH

MOZZARELLA CHEESE

CREAM

PARMESAN CHEESE 

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo with spoon.

HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS CHEESY BUTTERNUT SQUASH ORZO?

PREPARE THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash with the 2 tbsps olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper.

Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.

ROAST THE SQUASH: Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the squash is tender.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo squash in a baking dish.

COOK THE ORZO: In a large pot boil the vegetable broth, add the orzo, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes {or until the pasta is tender and liquid is absorbed}, stirring occasionally.

SAUTE THE GARLIC AND ONION: Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo making the orzo in a pan.

Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add half of the sage leaves, mozzarella cheese, cream
and Parmesan cheese and turn the heat to low. Whisk and stir until the sauce because thick.

STIR IN THE ORZO AND SQUASH: Stir in the orzo and butternut squash.

Garnish with the other half of the fresh sage. Serve with extra mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo in a large silver skillet.

WAYS TO MODIFY BUTTERNUT SQUASH ORZO

VEGETABLES: You can add any vegetables you like. I would add them after the garlic and onion and sauté until they are soft. Some examples I like are zucchini, bell peppers, carrots and cauliflower. 

SPICES: Spices can add a lot of flavor to this dish. I think the sweet roasted squash adds a nice sweet flavor so some more savory spices would work nicely. I added allspice, cloves and cinnamon but you could try paprika, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning or coriander. 

CHEESE: I used Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. You could mix this up and try other cheeses like sharp cheddar, feta cheese, goat cheese or pepper jack cheese. 

PROTEIN: If you want to add protein try grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or even tofu. 

HERBS: I love adding fresh herbs to this dish to take it to the next level. Aside from the sage try parsley, basil, oregano or thyme. 

BEANS: Beans would be a nice addition. Try chickpeas or white beans. 

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo with a gold spoon.

IS DAIRY NUTRITIOUS FOR ME?

Yes, it is! Did you know that dairy foods are one of the most affordable and accessible sources of high-quality proteins and often under-consumed nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and potassium? 

As a mom of three growing boys I really appreciate dairy because it helps give them calcium, protein and keeps them feeling full. 

The amount of dairy foods you need each day depends on your age.

For those 9 years or older, USDA recommends eating three daily servings of low fat or fat free milk, cheese and yogurt every day to meet dairy food group recommendations, close key nutrient gaps and contribute to nutritious and healthy eating patterns.

And healthy eating patterns that include dairy foods are linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as improved bone health, especially in young people. 

Like in today’s recipe milk, cheese and yogurt are delicious paired with plant-based foods, including whole grains and a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables—which tend to be more affordable because they are most abundant.

Pairing dairy foods with plants can help pack in nutrients that kids and adults need, and often do not get enough of in their daily diets. 

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo in a flower bowl.

As we approach winter in Ohio, cow care routines on dairy farms change.

Wet, chilly air means bedding the cows more often. Most barns are equipped with curtains that may be manually raised or lowered to protect cows from cold weather and whipping winds. Calf jackets to help calves conserve heat and stay warm, much like we put on jackets to keep us warm. 

Dairy farms operate 365 days a year, even on Thanksgiving and Christmas. On these holidays and every day, dairy farmers are committed to providing excellent care for their cows, producing safe, healthy milk and protecting the environment for future generations. 

As we head into the holidays keep in mind that milk is the No. 1 nutritious product requested by food banks.

Each year, dairy companies work with local food banks to provide nutritious dairy foods to those in need.

In 2020, Feeding America distributed 469 million pounds of dairy — including milk, cheese and yogurt — in its network. 

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo in a silver skillet.

OTHER DAIRY RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

EASY BAKED FETA RECIPE

CHICKPEA PASTA WITH FETA 

MEDITERRANEAN BUDDAH BOWL

BAKED ZITI WITH RICOTTA

INSTANT POT BROCCOLI 

ITALIAN PASTA SALAD

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo with logo.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo with a gold spoon.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo is a warm, cheesy fall dish mixing orzo, roasted butternut squash and a creamy cheese sauce topped with fresh sage. As we approach the holidays this would be a great side dish or an addition to your weeknight meals. You can make this a day or two ahead and heat when you are ready to serve it! 

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 sage leaves, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 16 ounces of vegetable broth {or chicken broth}
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Sage for garnish

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash with the 2 tbsps olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper.
    2. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.
    3. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the squash is tender.
    4. In a large pot boil the vegetable broth, add the orzo, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes {or until the pasta is tender and liquid is absorbed}, stirring occasionally.
    5. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
    6. Add half of the sage leaves, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, mozzarella cheese, cream and Parmesan cheese and turn the heat to low.
    7. Whisk until the sauce becauses thick.
    8. Stir in the orzo and butternut squash.
    9. Garnish with the other half of the fresh sage. Serve with extra mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Notes

The allspice, cloves and cinnamon are optional to add extra flavor. It tastes great without those spices.

For more information about dairy nutrition, to find delicious new recipes and to meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers, visit www.Drink-MIlk.com, and follow the American Dairy Association Mideast on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Today’s post is sponsored by the American Dairy Association Mideast. As always, opinions are 100% my own. 

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