Orzo with Mushrooms


Although this recipe is not traditional Italian cuisine; this family favorite is a quick pasta dish that I created and wanted to share with you.  It has a deep, earthy mushroom flavor that I like, and it is easy to prepare.  Best of all it can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.  Serve as a main course or as a side dish with grilled and roasted meats. 

Mushroom Orzo

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 8 servings.

1/2-ounce dried Porcini mushrooms
8 ounces fresh Cremini (Baby Bella) mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1/2 cup finely diced onion
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
16 ounces dried orzo pasta
3 to 3 ½ cups beef or chicken stock
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


Place the dried porcini in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water.  Let sit 1 hour. 

Strain the porcinis reserving the soaking the liquid.  Coarsely chop the porcinis and set aside.

Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat.  Add the fresh mushrooms and onion until vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining oil into the same skillet.  Add the orzo, stirring continuously until the pasta is lightly toasted. 

Stir in 2 cups of the stock and the porcini soaking liquid.  Add the porcinis, mushroom mixture, and half of the parsley.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add additional stock as needed throughout cooking to keep the pasta from drying out.  Cook for approximately 15 minutes or to al dente depending on the pasta size which can vary.  Stir in the remaining parsley.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese if desired. 

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