This creamy mushroom and spinach orzo is the perfect easy cosy dinner you need for your weeknight dinner. Creamy and garlicky and packed with mushrooms and spinach this one-pan pasta dish will go down a storm with the whole family.
I've been making this mushroom orzo dish on repeat lately. Maybe it's the cosiness that this dish brings that brightens up a dark and dreary winter evening or maybe it's that pasta hit that is so satisfying. Either way, my family can't get enough of it!
Made with a handful of pantry staples, this is a delicious vegetarian main dish, worthy enough to serve at a dinner party too. This orzo pasta recipe has the texture of a risotto but with tiny bits of pasta instead! Just serve with some crispy garlic bread for a tasty satisfying meal.
🛒 What You'll Need
- Mushrooms - Mushrooms are the star of the dish here so although you can use white mushrooms I recommend you use chestnut (brown) mushrooms. Chestnut mushrooms have more of a nutty flavor and have more of a meaty texture compared to white mushrooms.
- Orzo - Also known as risoni, orzo is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice, this lends orzo to being great for risotto-style dishes.
- Spinach - I prefer fresh spinach for this recipe and baby spinach as it is mild enough that it doesn't overtake the flavour of the mushrooms.
- Cream - I use single cream for this recipe but if you want a richer flavour you could use double or heavy cream.
- Cheese - To get a lovely cheesy creamy sauce I add grana padano cheese, if you want you can use parmesan cheese instead.
- Herbs - I add fresh thyme to the sauce and fresh parsley to the finished dish.
- Vegetable Stock - I use a vegetable bullion to make my stick you could also use vegetable broth or a stock with less sodium if you wish.
- Other ingredients needed - onion, garlic, white wine, butter, olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
🔪 How To Make Creamy Mushroom Orzo
Please see the recipe card below for full instructions and an ingredient list.
1. First, cook the mushrooms, in a large skillet, you will need to do this in batches. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan, add some of the mushrooms and cook on medium heat until golden brown. Don't bother the mushrooms too much, they should be left to brown up without too much interference. Once the mushrooms are golden brown remove them to a bowl and set aside until later. Repeat until you have cooked all the mushrooms, this may mean two to three batches depending on the size of your pan.
2. Next, heat the oil in the same pan and cook the onion until soft. Add the 3 cloves of garlic then add the orzo. Turn up the heat to medium-high heat and add the white wine. Stir until the wine has been absorbed by the pasta.
3. Add the stock and the fresh thyme and stir well. Next, slowly add the cream, stirring it as you add it. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and is once and creamy. The pasta should be al dente.
4. Once all of the cream has been added add the mushrooms, there should be a little bit of liquid left in the bowl make sure to add that too. Save a few mushrooms to use as a garnish if you like.
5. Now add the spinach and stir until the spinach has wilted.
6. Finally, take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheese. Serve immediately.
👩🍳 Top Tips
- To get perfectly cooked mushrooms, it is important not to overcrowd the pan and not to stir the mushrooms much. I use a spatula to turn them and then I only turn them once.
- The white wine adds acidity to this dish which works very well against the cream so I recommend using it.
- It's also important to cook the onion until soft and this will take at least 20 - 30 minutes. Cooking the onion this way breaks down the sugar in the onions and will give your dish more flavour.
- Don't like spinach? You can leave it out if you like, you could also use kale in place of spinach but you will need to saute the kale first then add it to the orzo.
- Make it nutty, I love adding some toasted pine nuts to this dish when I serve it, they give this dish a lovely earthy flavour.
- Add more veggies, you could add some roasted butternut squash cubes or gp for wild mushrooms instead of chestnut (crimini) mushrooms.
Any leftovers should be left to cool then stored in an airtight container
and should be kept in the fridge and used within two days. To reheat the cooked orzo the next day add the orzo to a saucepan along with a bit of water or a splash of veggie broth to loosen it. This is best reheated on the hob.
I don't recommend freezing this dish due to the cream. The cream tends to split once frozen and reheated and can turn your dish into a grainy texture instead of creamy.
🍝 More Tasty Pasta Recipes
- Pesto Orzo Salad - one of the most requested dinners in my house this is a firm family favourite and is great anytime of the year. Packed with veggies and feta this is great for dinner or lunch.
- Creamy Red Pesto Pasta - made with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes this is another favourite in my house. It's perfectly creamy and delicious and so easy to make.
- Vegetable Orzo Soup - another one-pot dish this is a tasty and filling soup, perfect for a cosy lunch.
🍽 More Delicious Pasta Dishes
Creamy Mushroom Orzo Pasta
- 1 level tbsp butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 500 g / 1.1 lbs of chestnut mushrooms wiped clean then sliced
- 1 medium brown onion finely chopped
- 300 g / 1½ cups of orzo dry weight
- 50 ml / ¼ cup of white wine
- 3 cloves of garlic finely minced or put through a garlic press
- 450 ml / 2 cups of vegetable stock
- 250 ml / 1 cup of single cream half and half cream in the US
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme the leaves pulled from the stems and the stems discarded
- 120 g / 4 cups of baby spinach
- 50 g / ½ a cups Grana Padano (or parmesan if in the US) finely grated + more for serving
- ½ teaspoon sea salt divided into two parts
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan.Add one-third of the mushrooms and cook over medium heat until golden brown, turning once. Repeat for another third then the remaining mushrooms. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside for later.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, and add the chopped onion along with one-quarter teaspoon of salt. Cook the onion over medium heat stirring all the time, until the onion is soft. This will take at least 20 minutes.
- Add the orzo to the onion and stir well, then turn the heat up to medium hot and add the wine. The wine should sizzle when it hits the pan.Cook until the pasta absorbs the wine. Then add the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Next, add the stock. Then pour in the cream slowly, stirring whilst you add it. Add the thyme and season with the remaining salt and black pepper.Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce is nice and creamy and has reduced by almost half. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure to stir often to stop the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Now, add the spinach and stir until wilted.Once the spinach has wilted remove the pan from the heat then stir in the cheese. Once the cheese has melted it is ready to serve.Serve with chopped parsley, more grated cheese and a little more black pepper.
- Leftovers - Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and should be used within two days. I don't recommend freezing this dish.
- Sodium - To reduce the amount of sodium in this dish use a low sodium stock.
- Nutritional Information - All nutritional information shared is an estimate based on third-party calculations. If calorie count and/or nutritional values are important to you, we recommend putting the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary depending on which brands were used. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
- Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible for the best results.
- Recipe Inspiration - Roughly adapted from this recipe for mushroom orzo by The Kitchn.