In a large skillet with a lid (or a dutch oven or large pot), melt the butter (4 tablespoons) over high heat. Whisk constantly until it turns foamy and a deep brown color.
Immediately add the diced onions and fresh thyme (1 tablespoon) and turn the heat down to medium. Be prepared for it to splatter a little bit! Stir and sauté for a minute until onions soften a bit.
Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to coat the mushrooms, then sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally. This will allow the moisture from the mushrooms to be drawn out and evaporate- if you stir it too much, this will take longer. The mushrooms are done when there is almost no moisture left if you stir it and they are a deep brown color.
Add the orzo (1 cup) and stir to coat each piece in butter.
Stir in the chicken or vegetable broth / stock. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes (or until orzo is fully cooked and liquid is absorbed), stirring occasionally so the orzo doesn't stick.
Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.
Time Saving Tip: buy pre-sliced, pre-washed mushrooms to cut down on prep time.
Money Saving Tip: any mushrooms will work for this- get the ones that are cheapest!
This recipe is best served immediately, since the orzo tends to get a little mushy and dry when refrigerated and reheated. But you can reheat leftovers in the microwave if you have any, adding a little more butter or a drizzle of olive oil if it seems too dry.
For a gluten-free version, I think this would be wonderful made with wild rice. Keep in mind, the cooking time will be longer, and the ratio of liquid may be different (refer to the package for more instruction).
For a vegan version, use 2 tablespoons olive oil instead of butter and skip the browning part. I recommend cooking the mushrooms for a little longer, until some browned bits get stuck to the bottom of the pan (then deglazing with vegetable stock), to develop the lost flavor from not having browned butter.
The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.