This velvety smooth Pumpkin Orzo is an autumn favourite. Topped with herbed infused mushrooms and crispy browned sausage. Indulgent comfort food!
During this time of the year, I try and make the most of all the earthy seasonal produce there is. Pumpkins and mushrooms are two of my ultimate favourite cosy autumn flavours. I love having them as the star of the dishes, and, they also work so beautifully together. They are also full of nutrients! Pairing them together in this creamy pumpkin orzo topped with mushrooms and sausage turned out so delicious!
What is orzo?
Orzo is another pasta shape! Even though it might be deceiving and you might think that it’s a grain. Orzo is purposely shaped like little grains of rice or barley. As it’s a small pasta shape, it doesn’t have a long cooking time. It works best in soups, in one pot dishes, and in dishes that already use rice. In fact, this recipe can also be made as a risotto. However, as risotto takes a lot of patience and time, using orzo makes it quicker and hassle free. Perfect for a weeknight meal!
Pumpkin Orzo ingredients
No fancy ingredients, just classic ones that together create a magical dish filled with autumnal vibes.
- Pumpkin: You can either buy ready made unflavoured pumpkin purée or else you can make it easily at home (my favourite option!). You can also try this recipe with other types of squash and even sweet potato. However, take note that these might require different cooking times.
- Orzo: This small pasta is no-fuss easy to use that gives great texture to this dish. You can also substitute the orzo with rice, and make this a risotto instead!
- White onion: I prefer using onion as it gives a slight tang to the sauce. However, if you want a sweeter taste, you can use shallots.
- Olive oil: Always! Apart from adding richness to the sauce, olive oil is my favourite oil to use when roasting vegetables as just a little goes a long way.
- Chicken stock: This is where the orzo will cook, and it enhances the whole dish. However, you can also use vegetable stock if you want a vegan/vegetarian option.
- Parmesan cheese: Cheese is key here! It will add so much to the creaminess of the dish. I like to use hard aged cheese as their developed flavour travels throughout the pumpkin orzo. Parmesan, Asiago, Grana Padano, Pecorino, Manchego are the best!
- Butter: The last final touch for a creamy tender orzo! The butter is what gives the sauce a shine and makes it velvety smooth. Not to skimp on it!
- Sausage: Use the best sausage you can get! Italian sausage is my go to here, as it gives the right amount of saltiness to balance the sweetness from the pumpkin. Other meat options you can use here are bacon, guanciale, or minced meat. Although, for this recipe, you can omit it if you want a vegetarian dish.
- Mushrooms: Any mushroom will do. Although, fancier mushrooms as oysters and shiitake are my absolute favourite here.
- Herbs: Here I have used sage and thyme as they both go so well with mushrooms and pumpkin. You can also use oregano or rosemary.
How to make pumpkin orzo?
Even though there are several steps for this dish, it’s actually not that difficult! Start by roasting the pumpkin and onion until fork tender. While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the boiling chicken stock to cook the orzo in, I like to cook my orzo until al dente as there will be further cooking later on. Sauté the mushrooms and brown the sausage. As soon as the vegetables are ready, blend everything until you get a smooth mixture. You might need to add a ladle of chicken stock to make it smoother.
Combine the pumpkin sauce to the cooked al dente orzo, let cook for a few minutes. Once removed from the heat add the cheese and butter and mix well. Serve immediately topped with the browed crumbled sausage and the mushrooms.
Pumpkin Orzo FAQs
Can I prepare the pumpkin orzo ahead?
As orzo is a tiny pasta, ideally it’s cooked just before serving. However, you can prepare the pumpkin sauce, sausage and mushrooms in advance and when ready to eat simply cook some orzo and assemble everything together.
- 400 g pumpkin
- 1 white onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 800 ml chicken stock
- 250 g orzo
- 25 g parmesan cheese
- 30 g butter
- fresh thyme sprigs and sage leaves
- 2 italian sausages
- 200 g oyster mushrooms or shiitake, button, cremini etc
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/390°F. On a baking sheet, drizzle the pumpkin and onion with olive oil. Add the fresh herbs and roast everything for about 30 minutes until the pumpkin is fork tender.
- While the vegetables are cooking. In a large pot, over medium heat, cook the orzo in the chicken stock according to the package instructions.
- In a large pan, cook the sausage and crumble. Cook through and let the sausage brown slightly with crispy bits. Set aside.
- In a large pan, cook the mushrooms in plenty of butter and sage leaves. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, until the mushrooms have a nice brown colour. Set aside.
- When the pumpkin is done roasting, place it in the blender together with the roasted onion. Blend until you have a smooth sauce. Add some chicken stock, used to cook the orzo in, to get a smoother sauce.
- In a large pan, combine the pumpkin sauce and the orzo. Cook for a few minutes. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed turn off the heat. Add the butter and Parmesan cheese and mix vigorously.
- Serve the orzo immediately and top it with the crumbled sausage and the mushrooms. Add some extra herbs on top and enjoy!
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. Please also rate this recipe by double clicking on the stars below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
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