This post may include affiliate links. Thank you for your support.

This Mushroom Orzo Risotto is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes or less! Incredibly creamy, rich, cheesy and full of flavor, this easy risotto with mushrooms makes the perfect meal or side dish the entire family will love!

Overhead photo of Mushroom Orzo Risotto garnished with fresh thyme and grated parmesan in a white saucepan with a neutral colored linen and ramekin of salt and pepper next to the pan.

Update: This recipe was originally published in October 2019. I made updates to the article below to include more information about making this recipe for creamy mushroom risotto at home.

About this mushroom orzo risotto recipe

Step aside traditional arborio rice risotto, there is a new family favorite in town!

This risotto is super creamy, rich, buttery and packed with tender orzo pasta, meaty caramelized mushrooms, fragrant herbs and sharp, nutty parmesan cheese. It has a lighter mouthfeel than traditional risotto yet still packs that ultra decadent, velvety taste.

The best part? This creamy orzo risotto recipe is faster and easier to make than traditional risotto! Made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes or less, it’s perfect for busy weeknight dinners and elegant enough for holiday entertaining!

Fast, flavorful, kid-friendly and made in one pot with inexpensive ingredients, this easy faux-risotto will be a recipe you want to make again and again!

What is orzo?

Orzo, which means ‘barley’ in Italian, is a rice-shaped pasta made from wheat. It is a versatile cut of pasta with a firm texture and can be used to make soups, stews, casseroles, salads and side dishes.

While orzo does resemble rice, it is not a type of grain. However, it can be prepared the same way you cook rice. Other cooking methods for orzo include – the pasta method, risotto method, pilaf method and baking method.

What is orzo risotto?

Orzo risotto, also known as orzotto, is a riff on traditional, classic risotto.

Classic risotto is an Italian rice dish made from short-grain Arborio rice. The method for making risotto involves stirring small amounts of hot broth into the rice a little at a time until it reaches a creamy consistency.

Orzotto is made from orzo pasta and does not require constant stirring to achieve a creamy consistency.

Essentially, orzotto is easier and requires less fuss to make than risotto.

Are orzo and risotto the same thing?

No, orzo and risotto are not the same thing.

Risotto is a creamy, decadent Italian dish made from rice and broth. Orzo is a grain-shaped type of pasta.

While orzo can be used as a substitute for Arborio rice in making risotto, they are not the same thing.

Is orzo risotto rice?

While orzo resembles large grains of rice, orzo risotto is actually pasta.

Overhead photo of sauteed mushrooms in a white saucepan on a wood surface with a neutral colored linen and ramekin of salt and pepper next to the pan - photo the first step of the recipe.

FAQs: frequently asked questions

You’ve got questions? I’ve got answers! If you have a question you don’t see listed below, please drop them in the comments section. I’m happy to help when I can! 

What type of mushrooms for risotto?

You can use a wide variety of mushrooms in risotto. I’ve found fresh, wild mushrooms to be the best, but feel free to mix and match varieties or just use your favorite.

Varieties of mushrooms to use in recipe:

  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Cremini Mushrooms (also known as baby bella)
  • Oyster Mushrooms
  • Porcini Mushrooms (rehydrate if using dried mushrooms)
  • Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • Button Mushrooms (also called white mushrooms)
  • Hen or Chicken of the woods

Pro-tip:  Make sure you slice large mushrooms and half or quarter small mushrooms depending on size.

Love mushrooms? Try these fan-favorite recipes next: How to Saute Mushrooms, Oven Roasted Mushrooms and Onions, and Marsala Cream Sauce.

What meat goes with orzo risotto?

Tender beef or succulent pork pairs extremely well with risotto! Whether you are looking to add a meat to the top, or serve the mushroom risotto as a side, below are a few different varieties of meat to take your meal up a notch!

  • Short ribs
  • Steak – any cut
  • Beef Shank
  • Beef Tenderloin
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Pork Filet

What fresh herbs can I add?

Fresh herbs are a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of mushroom risotto! While this recipe uses fresh thyme and parsley, feel free to mix and match a variety of herbs to create a dish that is perfect for you and your family!

  • Basil
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Parsley, flat-leaf
  • Sage
  • Scallions
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme

Can I make this risotto with mushrooms in advance?

While mushroom orzotto can be made in advance, I do not recommend it. Since it is a creamy, rich pasta dish it tastes best when served immediately. Plus, creamy orzo risotto is much faster and easier to prepare than traditional risotto, so there really is no need to partially cook the dish, store it in the refrigerator and then cook it to completion later on.

However, you can sauté the mushrooms for the risotto in advance. Store the cooked mushrooms in an airtight container in the refrigerator and proceed using them in the risotto when ready.

How many calories in this risotto recipe?

The exact number of calories in risotto will depend on the exact ingredient brands and measurements used. This risotto recipe serves eight and has approximately 366 calories and 51 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Is mushroom risotto vegan?

This recipe for creamy orzo risotto is not vegan as it contains butter, heavy cream (or half-and-half), and parmesan. While you can use use vegan substitutes (such as olive oil, silken tofu blended with soy milk and vegan parmesan), I have only made the recipe as directed.

Is mushroom orzo gluten free?

Although orzo looks like rice, it is actually a type of pasta made from wheat semolina flour. Since wheat contains gluten, orzotto is not gluten free.

Angled, up-close photo of Mushroom Risotto garnished with fresh thyme and grated parmesan in a white saucepan.

How to make mushroom orzo risotto recipe

While traditional risotto is tedious and time consuming to make, this recipe is easy to make and ready in 30 minutes or less!

(Scroll down for the detailed measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.)

  1.  Sauté the mushrooms: Heat butter in a large saucepan. Working in two batches, add half the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until they release their liquid. Stir and continue to cook until mushrooms are crisp but still moist. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms and transfer them to a bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of butter and remaining mushrooms.
  2. Sauté vegetables:  Melt the butter in the same pan. Add in the shallots. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Toast orzo:  Add in the orzo and thyme. Stir and cook until the orzo is golden and toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add liquid:  Add in some of the broth to deglaze the pan. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Slowly pour in the remaining 3 ¼ cups of broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Simmer, stirring often, for 9-11 minutes or until orzo is creamy.
  5. Add cream:  Stir in the cream and parmesan. Cook, stirring, until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add mushrooms:  Turn off the heat and stir in the mushrooms and parsley.
  7. Serve:  Remove from heat and drizzle with truffle oil to taste. Enjoy!

Step by step photos: making risotto with mushrooms at home

Overhead photo collage of how to make mushroom risotto step by step with written instructions on each step.

Serving risotto with mushrooms

There are a few ways you can serve orzo risotto:

As a side dish.  You can garnish risotto with a generous sprinkling of fresh grated parmesan and serve it as a side to meat, seafood or vegetables.

As a main dish. Mushroom risotto is hearty and makes a wonderful vegetarian meal. You can serve it plain or garnish it with grated parmesan, fresh herbs and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Add in protein and toppings. There are a wide variety of ingredients you can add to risotto to make it even heartier and a more complete meal.

Elevate your risotto with these additions

  • Poached or Fried Eggs – Add a poached or fried egg to the top of your risotto.
  • Bacon or Pancetta – Cook bacon or pancetta until crispy and fat has rendered. Crumble the bacon and stir it into the risotto.
  • Sausage – Cook ground sausage in a pan until golden brown and cooked through, or cook a few of your favorite sausage links. Stir the sausage into the mushroom risotto before serving.
  • Chicken – Either add tender chicken breast or a crispy skinned chicken thigh to the top of risotto.
  • Duck Breast – Thinly slice cooked duck breast and pile it high on top of a bowl of risotto.
  • Braised Lamb Shank – Top risotto with a tender, braised lamb shank for a show stopping dinner.
  • Scallops – Sear scallops on the stove top and slide a few on top of cooked mushroom risotto.
  • Any variety of beef or pork – Cook beef or pork according to your liking and add to the top of risotto. (See below for a complete list of types of beef and pork to add to risotto.)
  • White Beans – Drain and rinse the beans. Stir them into the risotto during the last 8-10 minutes of cooking.
  • Spinach or Kale – Add your favorite hearty greens to risotto.
  • Peppers and Onions – Top your risotto with a pile of stir fried peppers and onions before adding the mushrooms.
  • Ricotta – Whip ricotta in the food processor and add a generous dollop to the top of the risotto.
  • Pesto – Garnish your risotto with a spoonful of pesto.

Sides to serve alongside

Risotto is indulgent and hearty, so pairing it with a lighter side is highly recommended.

  • Seasonal vegetables – any fresh vegetable cooked according to your liking!
  • Simple green salad
  • Light soup

Storing leftovers

Allot leftover orzo risotto to cool completely to room temperature before transferring to an airtight storage container. Store the mushroom orzotto in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Can I freeze orzo risotto?

Unfortunately cream based orzo risotto does not thaw well after being frozen. Therefore, storing in the freezer is not recommended.

Reheating instructions

Orzo risotto reheats easily! You can reheat leftovers either on the stovetop or in the microwave.

  • Stovetop (for best results) – Add risotto to a small saucepan. Add in a little bit of half-and-half or heavy cream to restore the risottos creaminess. Reheat over medium-low, stirring, until heated throughout. Add more half and half, heavy cream or broth if needed.
  • Microwave – Add risotto to a microwave safe bowl. Add in a few splashes or half and half or heavy cream. Microwave in 45 second increments, stirring in between cooking, until warmed throughout.
Overhead photo of Risotto garnished with fresh thyme and grated parmesan in a white saucepan on a gray wood surface with a ramekin of salt and pepper next to the pan.

Easy to make and even easier to devour, this one pot creamy orzo pasta will quickly become a family favorite!

Until next time friends, cheers – to one pot wonders!

Craving MORE? Follow all the deliciousness on FacebookPinterest and Instagram!

More recipes for risotto!

The best Mushroom Orzo Risotto Recipe 👇

Overhead, landscape photo of Mushroom Orzo Risotto garnished with fresh thyme and grated parmesan in a white saucepan with a neutral colored linen and ramekin of salt and pepper next to the pan.

Mushroom Orzo Risotto

4.89 from 9 votes
Servings: 8 servings
This Mushroom Orzo Risotto Recipe is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes or less! Creamy, cheesy and full of flavor, it makes the perfect meal or side dish the whole family will love!
Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.

Equipment

  • Saucepan

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces Assorted Mushrooms – cleaned & quartered or halved depending on size (SEE NOTES)
  • Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 4-5 TBS Unsalted Butter – DIVIDED (SEE NOTES)
  • 2 medium shallots – finely diced
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 pound Dry Orzo Pasta (equivalent to 2 cups of dry orzo)
  • 2 TBS Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 3 ¾ Cups Reduced Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Broth – DIVIDED, or more to taste (SEE NOTES)
  • 1 Lemon – juice and zest
  • ½ Cup Heavy Cream or Half-and-Half – or more to taste
  • ¾ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 TBS Fresh Parsley – roughly chopped
  • Truffle Oil – to taste

Instructions

  • Sauté the mushrooms: (SEE NOTES before proceeding) Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, add half the mushrooms and cook, UNDISTURBED, for 4-5 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden and release their liquid. Stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are crisp but still moist, about 3-4 additional minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms and transfer them to a bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of butter and remaining mushrooms. Set bowl of mushrooms aside.
  • Sauté vegetables: Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in the same pan you used to cook the mushrooms. Add in the shallots. Sauté, stirring occasionally until softened, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Toast orzo: Add in the orzo and thyme. Stir and cook until the orzo is golden and toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add liquid: Add in ½ cup of broth to deglaze the pan. Use the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour in the remaining 3 ¼ cups of broth. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Simmer, stirring often, for 9-11 minutes or until orzo is al dente and pasta is creamy.
  • Add cream: Stir in the cream and parmesan. Cook, stirring, until liquid is creamy, about 2 minutes. If orzo thickens up, add a bit of cream or broth – you want the pasta to be creamy, yet not too thick.
  • Add mushrooms: Turn off the heat and add the mushrooms and parsley. Stir gently to combine.
  • Serve: Remove from heat and drizzle with truffle oil to taste. Taste orzo and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with additional parmesan, fresh herbs and truffle oil on the side. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. You can use any combination of mushrooms you like, or just one variety of mushroom. I used a combination of shiitake and baby bella (cremini) mushrooms. Please see the post for a complete list of mushroom varieties you can choose from.
  2. If your saucepan is narrow, you need to cook the mushrooms in two batches or they will steam instead of turning golden brown. The recipe is written based on using a narrow saucepan and cooking the mushrooms in two batches. If you have a wide pan and can fit all the mushrooms in a single layer, just omit 1 tablespoon of butter from the ingredients and don’t worry about repeating the mushroom cooking process in step 1 – cook them all at once with 1 tablespoon of butter.
  3. While this recipe does not use any wine, feel free to substitute a 1/4 of a cup of the broth for white wine if desired!
Nutritional information is an approximation and based upon 8 servings.  Exact information will depend upon the ingredient brands and precise measurements used.

Nutrition

Calories: 366kcal    Carbohydrates: 51g    Protein: 15g    Fat: 12g    Saturated Fat: 7g    Cholesterol: 29mg    Sodium: 193mg    Potassium: 442mg    Fiber: 4g    Sugar: 4g    Vitamin A: 475IU    Vitamin C: 12mg    Calcium: 154mg    Iron: 2mg

Did you make this recipe?

Mention @nospoonnecessary on Instagram and tag it #nospoonnecessary!

©No Spoon Necessary.  All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use any images without prior permission. Please do not republish this recipe without prior consent. If you want to reference this recipe, please do so by linking directly to this post.