Baked Parmesan and Sweet Potato Orzo is a comforting side dish that's especially good served alongside pork, chicken or turkey. The flavor is reminiscent of mac 'n' cheese, without loads of gooey melted cheese. Even so, the sweet flavor and orzo noodles make this a popular dish with kids.
Orzo is tiny rice-shaped pasta. It's often thrown into soups or made into pasta salad. Some grocery stores also sell whole wheat orzo, which has a more pronounced nutty, wheaty flavor.
Sweet Potatoes vs Yams: Although very similar, sweet potatoes and yams are from different plant species. Yams are a tropical vine tuber; sweet potatoes are a tuber in the morning glory family. Yams have a higher sugar content than sweet potatoes but yams and sweet potatoes have a similar flavor and texture. They can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Sweet potatoes and yams can be labeled incorrectly at the market. Sweet potatoes have thick brownish, orange skin and a bright orange color on the inside. There are many different varieties of yam, and the skin can be pale or dark. The inside color ranges from pale yellow to soft orange or pink to purple.
- 1/2 lb. raw sweet potato (about 1 medium-sized sweet potato)
- 1/2 cup non-fat, 2 percent or full-fat milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 1/2 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- Wrap the sweet potato in foil and bake until very soft and easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Remove the sweet potato from the oven (leave the oven on.)
- Peel the skin off the sweet potato. Put the sweet potato in a food processor with the milk, salt and pepper. Process until creamy, about 45 seconds. Add 1 cup of parmesan cheese, process until just blended in, about 10 seconds.
- In a medium-sized pot, bring water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until just tender, a minute or two less than the package directions. Drain. Transfer immediately to a baking dish. Stir in sweet potato mixture until it is fully mixed in with the orzo.
- Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup parmesan cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. To finish, put under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to brown the top. Serve.