This Mushroom Orzo Risotto recipe is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes or less! Incredibly creamy, rich, cheesy and full of flavor, it makes the perfect meal or side dish the entire family will love!
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.
What type of mushrooms can I use?
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.
Can this be made 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 long will mushroom orzo risotto keep?
Leftover risotto should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, orzotto will keep for up to 3-4 days.
Can this dish be frozen?
Unfortunately cream based orzo risotto does not thaw well after being frozen. Therefore, storing in the freezer is not recommended.
How to reheat risotto?
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.
How to serve mushroom risotto?
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.
What to add to orzotto:
- 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 sliced 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.
- 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.
What meat goes with this?
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 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!
- Parsley, flat-leaf
What goes well with mushroom risotto?
Risotto is indulgent and hearty, so pairing it with a lighter side is highly recommended.
What to serve with orzotto:
- Seasonal vegetables – any fresh vegetable cooked according to your liking!
- Simple green salad
- Light soup
How many calories in risotto?
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.
How to easily make mushroom orzo risotto at home?
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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Add cream: Stir in the cream and parmesan. Cook, stirring, until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add mushrooms: Turn off the heat and stir in the mushrooms and parsley.
- Serve: Remove from heat and drizzle with truffle oil to taste. Enjoy!
How to make creamy risotto step by step photos:
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!
More delicious mushroom recipes:
The best Mushroom Orzo Risotto Recipe 👇
Mushroom Orzo Risotto
- 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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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