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Mushroom and Orzo “Risotto”

Mushroom Orzo

Mushroom Orzo

About 1 ounce (1/2 cup) dried wild mushrooms like porcini, morel and shitake
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 portobello mushrooms, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced crimini or button mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp sherry
1 1/2 cups dried orzo pasta
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chervil or parsley


Sliced Portobello

Sliced Portobello

Rinse off dried mushrooms. Bring them to a boil in 4 cups of water. When water is at a full boil, turn off the heat and let the mushrooms soak for ten minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water, dice them up and set aside. Keep the water – this is now your mushroom broth.

In 1 Tbsp olive oil, saute the onion just a

re-hydrated mushrooms

re-hydrated mushrooms

few minutes until it starts to soften. Add sliced fresh mushrooms and remaining tablespoon of olive oil in batches and saute over medium-high heat. When all the fresh mushrooms are in the pan and cooked until soft and slightly browned, add the re-hydrated dried mushrooms, salt and oregano.

Adding shrooms to orzo

Adding shrooms to orzo

While the mushrooms are cooking, bring the mushroom broth back to a boil. Add orzo, lower heat slightly, and simmer for 7-8 minutes until the orzo is getting soft (but not gummy) and there is still a little liquid left in the pot.

Add the sherry to the pan of mushrooms then immediately add the mushrooms to the orzo. Continue to simmer and stir the orzo with mushrooms for a few more minutes until all broth is absorbed and the mixture thickens. Stir in cheese and chervil or parsley. Serves 4-6.


  • This dish can be made ahead and warmed gently on the stove (or microwave if necessary) before serving. If possible, wait to add the herbs until right before serving.
  • If you add too many mushrooms to a pan at once they will release too much moisture and won’t brown. It’s better to add a little bit of the mushrooms at a time.
  • Chervil is a very mild but lovely herb with a flavor between tarragon and parsley.
  • If you don’t have any sherry, substitute dry vermouth. If you don’t have dry vermouth, I suppose white wine will do.

This recipe was inspired by Luke Ostrom’s Wild Mushroom Orzo in Urban Italian: Simple Recipes & True Strories from a Life in Food

3 Comments leave one →
  1. DorisI permalink
    October 13, 2009 4:12 pm

    Sounds delicious! Could you include approximate time it takes to make these yummy recipes, for us busy girls? Thanks!!

  2. jen permalink
    November 8, 2009 6:13 pm

    this looks fabulous, but like the above poster i’d love to know approximate time from start to finish and also how many servings. love your site!

    • November 11, 2009 4:02 am

      Good idea – I’m now adding the cooking time at the top of blog posts and at the bottom of recipe pages, along with the approximate servings

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