I have a great little side dish to share with you today.
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. There are all kinds of different methods of preparation and this is one of my favorites.
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?
Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and add the chopped mushrooms, onions, and garlic.
After it has cooked down a bit, season 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 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 chicken broth, add the cooked mushrooms and onions, 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!
This is a great alternative to the usual rice or potato side. Try it!
Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms and Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 10 small brown button (cremini) mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped 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 chicken 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 chicken broth and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 – 20 minutes.
Add add cooked mushroom mixture to the cooked orzo and stir to combine. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, the sour cream, and basil. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over the top and serve. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.