Orzo Mac and Cheese Bar

Recipe courtesy of Chef Thomas Horner.

Let guests customize their mac and cheese with a variety of add-on toppings like Chef Thomas Horner does with this Orzo Mac and Cheese Bar. Use the risotto technique to make orzo pasta into a creamy base.

Nutrition information includes base recipe only- note any additional toppings that may be added.

6 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions or shallots
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 pounds Barilla Orzo
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups shredded cheddar or other cheese
black pepper
Optional toppings:
sauteed sliced mushrooms
cooked sausage
rendered bacon lardons
sauteed rock shrimp
sauteed asparagus tips
sliced scallions
  1. Bring the stock to a simmer, then reduce the heat to keep it warm.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, wide pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions or shallots and cook until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the orzo and salt, stirring to coat the orzo with oil and toast it slightly.
  3. Stir about 2 cups of stock and some of the wine into the orzo. Slowly stir and cook until the orzo absorbs the liquid. Continue to slowly stir in the stock and wine, letting it absorb almost all of the liquid, until it is creamy but still ad dente.
  4. Stir in the cheese until it melts; season with pepper. Put the mac and cheese in a warming pan and set it on a buffet line with each topping option in a separate container.