Mushroom Orzo Pasta In Asiago Thyme Sauce
25 Minute Creamy Mushroom Orzo Pasta in Asiago Thyme Sauce is OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious!   It is gourmet enough for special occasions but one pot EASY for everyday.  It is completely customizable with different veggies or add chicken, shrimp, beef or Italian sausage and call it dinner. 
Servings Prep Time
8– 10 servings 6minutes
Cook Time
16minutes
Servings Prep Time
8– 10 servings 6minutes
Cook Time
16minutes
up close of a spoon scooping cheesy orzo pasta recipe in a white bowl
Ingredients
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 3tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 16oz white button mushroomssliced
  • 1 shallotminced (1/3-1/2 cup)
  • 4 garlic clovesminced
  • 1tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 4cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2tsp EACH dried parsley, dried thyme
  • 1/4tsp EACH salt, pepper
Add later:
  • 3oz. Cream Cheesesoftened
  • 1/2-3/4cup freshly grated Asiago cheese(see note)**
  • 1cup frozen petite peasthawed
  • 1/4cup milkplus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • Freshly cracked salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Add pine nuts to Dutch oven/stockpot and toast over medium heat until browned in spots. Remove to a plate.
  2. Melt butter with olive oil in the same Dutch oven/stockpot over medium heat. Increase temperature to medium-high and add mushrooms. Spread mushrooms into an even layer and let cook for cook for 3 minutes without moving. Add shallots and cook and stir an additional 3-5 minutes, until all the liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are browned. Add soy sauce and garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in all remaining Orzo ingredients up through salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered for 5-8 minutes, stirring often so the orzo doesn’t stick and burn. Test your orzo at 5 minutes and continue to cook until al dente.
  4. Once orzo is cooked, reduce heat to low and stir in cream cheese until melted followed by Asiago cheese until melted. Stir in peas and warm through.
  5. Add additional milk until it reaches desired creamy consistency. Season with freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste (I like additional salt). Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Recipe Notes

 

  • Mushroom variety.  You can use whatever mushrooms you prefer, but I suggest button mushrooms because they are nice and mushroomy.
  • Don’t Submerge Mushrooms.  Don’t submerge your mushrooms in water to clean them, instead use a damp paper towel.  If you rinse mushrooms in water, they will absorb water like a sponge and not brown as well or become as flavorful because they are full of water.
  • Salt at the end.  Add salt and pepper when instructed with the rest of the broth ingredients. If you salt your mushrooms while cooking, it will prevent them from browning in the pan.
  • Be patient.  It is tempting to not cook your mushrooms to the point all the liquid is absorbed, but keep cooking until they are browned all over for maximum flavor.
  • Stir!    We are using less liquid to simmer our orzo pasta because it is being absorbed into our orzo for maximum flavor and becoming the base of our sauce.  Consequently, make sure you stir your orzo often so the orzo pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  • **Asiago:  Asiago cheese is wonderfully sweet and nutty.  If you would like a less pronounced taste, use 1/2 cup.  We like 3/4 cup around here but that does mean a strong Asiago taste.  You can add less then add more to taste if you wish.
  • Cheese Substitute.  You may substitute Asiago with Parmesan although I prefer Asiago, so I highly suggest you try Asiago one of these times – its flavor can’t be beat in this orzo pasta recipe.
  • Nuts:  I love the earthy toasted crunch of pine nuts in this orzo pasta but you may substitute  pistachios, sliced almonds or chopped pecans or walnuts.