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This Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms and Parmesan recipe is a delicious way to add some interest to an otherwise ordinary menu. Mushrooms, garlic, and fresh herbs combine with orzo, a touch of sour cream and Parmesan to create this special side dish.
This post was originally published on June 17, 2013. It has been updated with new images.
When menu planning often-times I get stumped by side dish choices. The rest of the menu seems to come easily but I have a tendency to bounce back and forth between rice and potatoes for the non-veggie side. Not that there’s anything at all wrong with rice and potatoes but it’s nice to have some options.
I have a great little recipe to share with you today that’s going to totally up your side dish game.
This Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms and Parmesan stands in perfectly for either rice or potatoes on almost any menu. It is fabulous served with grilled, baked, or roasted meats. It’s also a great choice to serve with pan-seared fish like my Blackened Mahi Mahi.
What is Orzo?
The star of this show is orzo; an extremely versatile, rice-like pasta. It may resemble rice but you will find it right next to all of the other dry, boxed pastas in the grocery store. It is commonly used in soups, side dishes like this one, and pasta salads like my super popular Orzo Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Spinach, and Feta. It is also an important component to my Almond Rice Pilaf which is on our menu at least two or three times a month. Check out this article from Good Housekeeping for more information on orzo.
As you can see, there are all kinds of different methods of preparation and this recipe showcases this fun little pasta in one of my favorite ways.
Mushrooms, fresh thyme, and fresh basil give this dish a rustic look and fantastic flavor. Mushrooms and thyme go hand in hand for me. The flavors complement each other magnificently. I have a strong preference for fresh thyme in this dish but if you can’t get your hands on any it will still be excellent with the dried variety.
Enough about the ingredients, shall we get this show on the road?
How to Make Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms and Parmesan
Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and add the chopped mushrooms, onions, and garlic. After the mixture has cooked down a bit, season it with the salt, pepper, and fresh thyme.
Transfer the cooked mushrooms and onions to a dish and set it aside while we move on to the orzo.
Melt another tablespoon of butter in the same pan and add the orzo. Cook and stir it for a couple of minutes until it is just beginning to get a nice, toasty, golden brown.
Add the chicken (or vegetable) broth, bring it to a nice simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Once the orzo has plumped up and absorbed all the broth, add the cooked mushrooms and onions.
Add some Parmesan, a little bit of sour cream, and the chopped fresh basil.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan and the deed is done!
Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms and Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 10 small brown button cremini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 1/4 cup light sour cream
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook and stir until mushrooms are slightly softened, approximately 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer cooked mushrooms and onions to a plate and return pan to the heat. Add an additional tablespoon of butter to the same pan and when it has melted, add the orzo. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes until lightly browned. Stir in broth and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Return cooked mushroom mixture to the skillet and stir to combine with the cooked orzo. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, the sour cream, and basil. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over the top. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve warm.