My recent experimentation with whole grains meant that I had some cooked grains leftover after making several recipes—specifically, my chicken, wild rice and orzo salad and my farro salad with butternut squash.
See, here’s one of the great things about these grains: You can cook up a big batch any time (cooking times vary between 15 and 45 minutes, give or take), and stash any unused portion in the freezer, easy-peasy.
Finding myself with odd quantities of orzo, wild rice and farro, I wanted to come up with a way to use all of them together, preferably in a dish that was as hearty and delicious as the other grain recipes I’ve been playing with. I turned to Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day for inspiration and found her recipe for a savory casserole with mushrooms and brown rice. I swapped the mushrooms for fresh broccoli and made several other substitutions, generally following Heidi’s proportions of liquid ingredients.
The result? Healthy comfort food: cheesy, savory, delicious.
2 cups total of any of the following: cooked wild, white or brown rice; farro or barley; orzo pasta
1 head of broccoli, tender stems and florets chopped into roughly 1/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (whole or part-skim)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
2/3 cup shredded cheese of your choice
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; spray a 1.5-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large lidded sauté pan, warm a generous Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onion and stir to coat with oil; reduce heat to medium and sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add chopped broccoli stems and florets (if the pan seems to need a bit more oil, go ahead and add some), raise the heat to medium-high and stir-fry the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes, until it just begins to brown slightly. Add 2 Tbsp. of water to the pan and quickly cover; steam the broccoli until it’s just tender, about 2 minutes. Taste the vegetables and add seasoned salt (I like Jane’s) and pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta, yogurt and egg until well combined. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked rice or orzo, cooked vegetables and basil. Add ricotta mixture and and 1/2 of the cheese, and stir gently to combine. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish; top with remaining cheese, then cover the pan with a piece of foil that you’ve spritzed with a little baking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake 20 more minutes, until the cheese begins to brown in spots.