Orzo “Risotto” with Shiitake and Wild Mallows

Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a main course
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

By Elizabeth Schneider

Published 2001

  • About

Soft, thick, juicy mallows, a generous helping of fresh shiitake, and chewy orzo pasta combine to make a luscious, slippery dish with a muted pine undertone. If you use mallows that are leggy and large (whether wild or cultivated) you’ll need about twice as much to yield 4 cups leaves. If you’re preparing fresh vegetable broth for this, add the shiitake and mallow stems; if not, save them for another broth batch. I prefer the wheaty color and flavor of Greek orzo.


  • 3 to 6 ounces young mallows (to yield 4 cups lightly packed leaves)
  • 6 ounces fresh shiitake
  • 1 medium shallot
  • About 4 cups mushroom and/or vegetable broth
  • 6 ounces orzo pasta (preferably Greek)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • About ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper


    1. Strip stems from mallows; rinse leaves. Remove shiitake stems. Slice caps thin. Mince shallot.
    2. Bring 2½ cups broth to a boil in heavy medium-large pot. Stir in orzo and return to a boil. Boil gently until tender, about 10 minutes. (If orzo begins to stick, add water; absorption rates vary.)
    3. Meanwhile, heat heavy medium skillet over moderate heat. Add 1½ tablespoons butter. Stir in shallot and toss to soften slightly. Add shiitake and sauté until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Season with lemon zest, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Add ¾ cup broth and mallow leaves. Stir and toss until leaves are wilted and tender, about 2 minutes.
    4. Add contents of pan to orzo. Add broth as needed to make a slightly soupy consistency. Stir in remaining ½ tablespoon butter. Serve at once, in wide bowls.