Orzo Mac and Cheese with Fire Roasted Tomatoes & Spinach

Grownup twist on mac and cheese. This makes a large portion (8 servings), so you might want to cut recipe in half for a smaller family like mine.

16 ounces orzo pasta
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (14 oz.) can fired roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

  1. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Cook the orzo according to the package directions; drain.
  3. While the orzo cooks, prepare the cheese sauce. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  4. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook and stir for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the milk, whisking constantly, until smooth. Cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 4-5 minutes, until mixture is thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted. Stir in the Feta cheese.
  7. Stir the oregano, thyme, salt and pepper into the cheese sauce. Add the diced tomatoes (undrained) and the chopped spinach. Stir the mixture until the spinach has wilted slightly.
  8. Stir the cooked orzo into the cheese sauce. Preheat the broiler.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  10. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the top is bubbly and lightly browned. Alternately, you can bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes instead of broiling. 
Recipe adapted from Let's Dish