This baked orzo is technically a breakfast recipe, but I made it for dinner. (David and I enjoyed some of the leftovers for breakfast the next day.) It was absolutely delicious and easy to make. The smell of the bacon and leeks cooking was probably putting the whole neighborhood in a good mood. Two things to mention; the recipe calls for a 12 by 8 inch baking dish, which is an unusual size that I do not have. I substituted a glass 9 ½ inch pie dish which worked perfectly and was filled right to the top. Also when I pulled the feta out of my fridge, I woefully discovered it was sporting an alarming shade of blue, (*blush-let me just say we don’t eat much cheese on normal days) so into the trash that went. I luckily had exactly 8 ounces of Cotija so I used that instead. It worked out perfectly as cojita can be a good swap for feta. Feel free to use either, but I think Cotija has a much milder bite than feta. If I had used feta, I probably would have added less than the 8 oz. that the recipe calls for.
slightly adapted from: Food + Wine
1 cup orzo
12 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 ½ pounds leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
10 ounces baby spinach
8 ounces feta or Cotija cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground pepper
4 large eggs
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until browned, 8 minutes. Add the leeks to the bacon and cook until tender, 8 minutes. Add the leek mixture to the orzo, leaving 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet. Add the spinach to the skillet and cook until wilted; transfer to a colander and press out the excess liquid. Add the spinach to the orzo, fold in the feta and season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the yogurt and milk, season with pepper and stir into the orzo. Scrape the mixture into an oiled 9 ½ inch baking dish and bake for 40- 45 minutes, until the eggs are set and the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
wine pairing suggestion: Vibrant, fresh Greek whites are fantastic with tangy feta cheese.