Orzo with Spinach, Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese

Circle B Kitchen

Recipe courtesy of TheKitchn

This is an amazing side dish that really packs some big flavors. We loved the orzo, but you could certainly substitute brown rice. Feta cheese works in a pinch if you don't have blue cheese on hand, but be sure you use a creamy feta in a block, not the dry crumbles. I really like the Pastures of Eden feta from Trader Joes, but any French feta would work as well. Goat cheese would be another worthy substitute.

Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/4-inch cubes)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup regular or whole wheat orzo

2 cups shredded spinach

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Toss butternut squash with the olive oil. Spread into a single layer on a sheet tray. Bake until squash is tender and starting to brown, 35 to 40 minutes. (Squash can be roasted up to 5 days ahead and kept refrigerated. Rewarm before serving.)

Place the spinach in a large bowl and set aside. In a small skillet, heat olive oil until just warm. Stir in garlic, remove from heat and allow to sit until ready to use.

Place the orzo in a pot and cover with at least 2" of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender but not mushy, 8 to 9 minutes. Drain and immediately pour the hot orzo on top of the spinach. Let sit for a few minutes to slightly wilt spinach.

Add butternut squash to the pasta along with the blue cheese and garlic olive oil. Toss until well combined and serve