The Best Damn Casserole....EVER
½ pound orzo
1 (32-ounce) box chicken stock
3 tbsp butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups whole milk
6 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided use
2 ounces shredded Gruyére cheese
Salt and pepper
8 ounces ham, cubed
1 bag broccoli flowerets OR 1 pound fresh broccoli, stems removed OR 1 box frozen broccoli, defrosted
3 ounces french fried onions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add orzo and cook until liquid is absorbed and orzo is al dente, about 9 minutes. The orzo should absorb all of the liquid, and some hot water may need to be added until cooking is complete.
In large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over top, mix in with butter, and cook until nutty and slightly browned. Remove from flame and whisk in milk. Return to heat and cook until mixture thickens and bubbles. Add 4 ounces of Cheddar cheese and all of Gruyére cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper.
Add ham, broccoli, and hot orzo to the cheese sauce, and mix to combine. Pour mixture into a casserole dish, and top with remaining 2 ounces of Cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove casserole from oven, sprinkle with french fried onion, and bake an additional five minutes until onions are warm and crispy.