Mock risotto is quick and easy dish

This mock “risotto” made with orzo rather than rice makes a quick Italian-inspired supper with very little effort. Risotto made with rice takes about 30 minutes to make and needs to be constantly stirred. Using the rice-shaped orzo pasta means you can let it cook on its own with just an occasional stir.

Serve the risotto with this Italian salad. Or, open a bag of washed, ready-to-eat salad to complete the meal.

Helpful hints:

  • Any type of mushrooms can be used, such as button, oyster or porcini.
  • Any type of onion can be used.
  • To make this a vegetarian dinner, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.


  • Prepare risotto.
  • Prepare salad while risotto cooks.

Shopping list:

To buy: 1/2 pound portobello mushrooms (or oyster or porcini), 1 small package orzo, 1 red onion, 1 bottle dry white wine, 1 small piece Parmesan cheese, 1 bunch parsley, 1 small can reduced-sodium cannellini beans, 1 small head radicchio lettuce, 1 small head Romaine lettuce, 1 bottle reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing and 1 container fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth.

Staples: olive oil, garlic, salt and black peppercorns.

Wild Mushroom “Risotto”

Recipes by Linda Gassenheimer

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sliced red onion

2 crushed garlic cloves

1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)

2 1/2-cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup dry white wine

2/3 cup orzo

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and wine. Bring to a boil and add the orzo. Cook, uncovered,10 minutes stirring occasionally. (If you’re not using a nonstick pan, stir more often to keep orzo from sticking.) Check orzo to make sure it is cooked through. Cook another minute, if needed. Remove from heat. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and cover with a lid. Let sit 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 465 calories (21 percent from fat), 10.9 g fat (2.8 g saturated), 4.1 g monounsaturated), 8 cholesterol, 21.2 g protein, 58.2 g carbohydrates, 4.3 g fiber, 292 mg sodium.

Italian Salad

Recipes by Linda Gassenheimer

3 tablespoons reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing

1/2 cup canned reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 small head radicchio lettuce

1/4 small head romaine

Add dressing to a salad bowl and toss the beans in the dressing. Add lettuce and toss again. Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 107 calories, (17 percent from fat), 2 g fat (0.2 g saturated, 0.5 g monounsaturated), 2 mg cholesterol, 6.1 g protein, 17.9 g carbohydrates, 5.2 g fiber, 16 mg sodium.

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