Garlic and Mushrooms – two ingredients that taste fabulous on their own, but put them together and you have a dish that is truly scrumptious. Mix them into orzo and sprinkle a little parmesan on top and you have something very special indeed.
I could probably just stop there and give you the recipe – but then I won’t get to talk to you about orzo and I do so love to chat about orzo.
Just like the proverbial duck; orzo looks like rice and cooks like rice, but is in fact a pasta.
And it’s a bloody tasty type of pasta at that.
Cooking it is like making risotto, but without all that ruddy stirring. Rather than putting it in boiling water and then draining it, I cook it in vegetable stock and allow the pasta to absorb all the liquid.
Perfect as a mid-week dish, you can have this on the table in twenty-five minutes and it will work well the next day for lunch as well. You can either reheat it, or add some salad to it and eat it cold – both are delicious.
Start by chopping up your portobello mushrooms into nice big chunks. Mince the garlic and add it to the melted butter in a large saucepan, you’ll want it on a lowish heat so that the garlic doesn’t burn (nothing worse than the bitterness of burnt garlic) and let it bubble for a minute.
Now add the mushrooms and keep them moving so they absorb all that delicious garlic butter and start to cook down. You want the mushrooms to be just cooked (we’ll be cooking them a little more in a bit), so just before they are al dente, remove them from the pan and leave them to one side for later.
Add the orzo to the same pan (you want it to absorb what’s left of that garlicky goodness) with the vegetable stock and the rest of the seasoning. Leave it to bubble for seven minutes (don’t worry if there is still a little liquid in with the orzo as we’re going to add more ingredients that will soak it straight up). Stirring a couple of times just to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
While the orzo is cooking, grate your courgette – I find using a standard cheese grater very therapeutic, but a food processor would work well if you’re not in the mood to do it yourself.
Once the orzo has absorbed all the stock, stir in the grated courgette and let it cook for two minutes, then add in the mushrooms and leave it for two minutes more. Next up is your parmesan – I’ve said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, parmesan is a deeply personal matter and I would never dictate how much to put in your dish, for me a good handful of grated parmesan was sufficient.
Leave it for one minute more so that it has everything is warm and tasty and you’re good to go.
Serve with a couple of twists of black pepper and more parmesan (if you so wish ;-))
The key to this is the texture of the just cooked mushrooms, versus the soft creaminess of the orzo. Phil declared it a triumph and when he put portobello mushrooms in the shopping basket again on Saturday, I suspect this dish is what he had in mind.
- 40g butter (doesn't need to be precise - needs to be enough to cook the mushrooms in)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 large portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup of orzo
- 1 courgette, grated
- 2 and a ½ cups of hot vegetable stock
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- tsp Paprika
- 3 splashes of tabasco sauce (very much optional)
- salt and pepper to season
- Melt butter in a large pan, add the garlic and allow to cook for one minute
- Add mushrooms, stirring continuously for approx 5 minutes - or until the mushrooms are JUST cooked.
- Remove the mushrooms from the pan and leave to one side
- In the same pan, add your orzo and vegetable stock plus the paprika, tabasco and seasoning
- Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for approx 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed
- Add the grated courgette to the orzo and cook for two minutes
- add the mushrooms back into the pan and cook for two more minutes
- stir in the parmesan cheese and leave for one more minute
- Serve sprinkled with fresh black pepper and additional parmesan (if required)