- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 small/medium zucchini, chopped
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 1/2 cups basmati or jasmine rice
- 1/2 cup dry orzo pasta (use gluten free if needed)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less to taste
- 3/4 cup shredded Havarti cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2-4 tablespoons everything bagel spice (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- fresh basil, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- When the oil shimmers, add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until the zucchini is golden, 5-8 minutes.
- Remove the zucchini from the skillet and set aside.
- To the skillet, add the remaining oil and the onion.
- Cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook until the chicken is seared, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the butter, garlic, rice, orzo, and thyme, and cook until golden and toasted, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the zucchini back to the skillet. Add the cayenne and a large pinch each of salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is mostly cooked.
- Once the rice is cooked, stir in 1/2 cup of the Havarti and 1/2 cup of the cheddar. If needed, transfer the rice to an oven-safe casserole dish.
- Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of each cheese over top the casserole. Sprinkle on the everything spice and chives.
- Transfer to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.
- Switch the oven to broil and broil 1-2 minutes, until the cheese on top is becoming crispy. Serve warm with fresh basil.
To Make Ahead: Prepare the casserole through step 4. Let cool, then cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. To bake, remove from the fridge and let sit at room temp while the oven preheats. Bake as directed.
To Freeze: Prepare the casserole through step 4. Let cool, then cover tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for 2-3 hours. Bake as directed.