What is better than a fast side dish that requires little hands on time? This wonderful mushroom orzo pilaf is a quick and delicious side dish that goes with any grilled food.
I love to serve it with salmon (get the recipe here) and roasted asparagus. The combination is beautiful, delicious, and can be on the table in less than 40 minutes!
If you are not familiar with orzo, check out this large rice shaped pasta found it the pasta aisle of the grocery store. While it is often used in soups, don’t put limits on this gem of a pasta.
Orzo, is so named because it is Italian for barley. It looks like a large grain, but this pasta is considered a “pastina” — or tiny shape of pasta. You can prepare it as you would any pasta, boiled in salted water until al dente. It will double in size as it cooks so plan on 2 ounces (1/4 cup) uncooked orzo per person.
Cooking Orzo Pilaf Style
To cook pilaf, you first saute the rice (in this recipe we will substitute orzo) until it begins to toast and becomes golden. This changes the increases the flavor and texture. Once the grains of orzo start to toast, reduce the heat to a simmer and add water, or even better broth, and gently cook until most of the water is absorbed (about 10-12 minutes) stirring occasionally. This cooking process creates a wonderful creamy dish from the starch of the pasta without adding any cheese. Let the orzo rest for 3-5 minutes and then fluff gently with a fork to separate the grains and serve.
You use the same cooking ratio of orzo to liquid as you would for rice. 1 part orzo, cooks in 2 parts liquid.Print
Mushroom Orzo Pilaf is a quick and delicious side dish that goes with any grilled food.
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced, (about 1/2 cup)
- 4 ounces mushrooms, diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup orzo
- 2 cups liquid, use vegetable broth, chicken broth, or even water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh parsley, minced for garnish
- In a medium saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the shallots and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown.
- Add the remaining oil and orzo and saute until the orzo begins to toast and starts to turn golden.
- Stir in the broth and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cover and simmer until orzo is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid, stirring occasionally for about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let rest for 3-5 minutes.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper. Gently fluff orzo with a fork and garnish with the parsley.