Meatball Orzo One Dish Casserole

Meatball orzo casserole
Meatball orzo one dish casserole for NFRA

Katie Workman/

Prep: 7 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 27 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
464 Calories
26g Fat
37g Carbs
21g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 464
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 34%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 888mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 175mg 13%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 473mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The joys of a single pot recipe are hard to summarize. Well, that’s not quite true: the words one-pot casserole make most of us very happy. This recipe turns super-convenient and frozen meatballs into a creamy, slightly cheese main dish, complete with the vegetables built right in. You could use other vegetables, such as broccoli or asparagus in place of the broccoli rabe if you like, and keep changing this dish up with the seasons. 

Another way to vary things up is to experiment with different flavors of frozen meatballs. A bag or two of meatballs in the freezer has saved dinner many a time.

This dish was almost risotto-like, though it uses rice-shaped orzo pasta instead of rice, and involves with much less stirring. Even though this recipe says serves 8, my family of 4 did some pretty serious damage to the casserole…but there were thankfully still leftovers. There is more pasta than meatballs, though, since my kids went back into the pot, and plucked out the meatballs for their second servings!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 6 cups roughly chopped broccoli rabe

  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1 (16-ounce) box orzo

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1 (26-ounce) package frozen meatballs

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, broccoli rabe, hot pepper flakes, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently until the broccoli rabe is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a plate.

  3. Return the pot to medium high heat, add the remaining tablespoon olive oil, and then add the onions. Saute the onions for 2 minutes, then add the orzo.  Cook, stirring frequently until the orzo turns lightly golden and is coated with the oil, about 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth and the frozen meatballs, stir, cover and bring to a simmer over high heat.  Reduce the heat to keep the liquid at a simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the meatballs are cooked through and the orzo is tender and has absorbed almost all of the liquid.  Stir in the cooked broccoli rabe and the Parmesan, and serve hot, with extra Parmesan on the side for sprinkling.