Friday, January 26, 2024

Meatball and Butternut Squash Orzo

About this time of year, I start to get really uninspired with menu planning and cooking. It's the end of January, but I feel like I've had enough comfort food, but we're nowhere near ready for spring yet. So a dish like this comes in handy. Hearty enough for the winter but not so heavy that you feel like you can't move. Chock full of protein AND colorful vegetables, with a creamy pasta base -- there's something here for everyone!

This recipe comes together pretty quickly, too, making it great for a weeknight. While you roast the squash and bake the meatballs (same time!), you assemble the rest of the dish. You can absolutely make your own meatballs for this, but I pick up a pound of fresh ones already made, then I re-roll them to make 24 instead of 12. They bake more quickly when they're a little smaller, too. 

Cook the orzo, add spinach and a bit of half and half for creaminess,

 then add back in the squash and the meatballs. Voila! Dinner is done. 

Here's a close up of all that goodness! 

Meatball and Butternut Squash Orzo

16 oz. pork/beef/chicken meatballs
12 oz. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 tsp. thyme
1 cup orzo
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
5 oz fresh spinach
1/2 cup half and half

If you are using unbaked meatballs, bake them at the same time as the squash. (I get the 12-pack of fresh meatballs at Aldi, and re-roll them to make 24 meatballs.)

In a large bowl, toss cubed butternut squash with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and thyme. Spread the squash on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in one layer, without overcrowding. Roast at 400 F on the middle rack for 20 or 30 minutes. 

Combine orzo, minced garlic, and remaining Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the orzo over medium heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes until browned. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 or 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is cooked through.

Reduce heat to low, add spinach, and stir it in until it wilts. Add half-and-half, then stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Add roasted butternut squash and baked meatballs to the cooked orzo. Serves 6.

Powered by Blogger.