Fast faux risotto

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6 min


4 to 6 servings

* PLUS Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 tbsp butter , or olive oil
  • 1 large onion , coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced, or 1 tbsp bottled chopped garlic
  • 250-g pkg sliced button mushrooms , or about 4 cups
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo
  • 284-mL can undiluted chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup grated asiago or parmesan


  • Melt butter in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. When bubbly, add onion. Stir often just until onion begins to soften, from 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms. Sprinkle in salt and 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) thyme. Stir often until mushrooms are golden-tinged, from 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely chop tomatoes and thinly slice green onions. Set green onions aside. Stir in tomatoes with any juice and seeds and orzo. Then pour in chicken broth.
  • Using a wooden spoon, scrape up and stir in any brown bits from pan bottom into sauce for added flavour. Stir constantly until orzo absorbs most of liquid in pan, about 5 minutes. Add water and stir often until most of liquid is absorbed, from 4 to 5 minutes. Mixture should look a little soupy.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cheese and green onions until cheese has melted, about 1 minute. Taste and stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) thyme, if needed. Ladle risotto into warm soup bowls and serve immediately with a leafy green salad and thick slices of fresh focaccia or pumpernickel.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 286,
  • Protein
  • 12.8 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 38.6 g,
  • Fat
  • 9 g,
  • Fibre
  • 3.4 g,
  • Sodium
  • 689 mg.

While we love a bowlful of creamy steamy risotto heavenly scented with mushrooms, we don’t like the long cooking time. Orzo is a smart substitute. It looks like rice, but cooks in half the time.