Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In a 12-inch skillet cook and stir mushrooms, onion, and garlic in 1 tablespoon of hot olive oil over medium-high heat until onion is tender but not brown. Add rice; cook and stir 1 minute more.
Add artichoke hearts, undrained tomatoes, thyme, and pepper. Stir in broth and milk or half-and-half. Bring just to boiling. Stir in chicken and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Transfer to a 2-1/2-quart casserole. Cover and bake for 1 hour or until rice is tender.
Meanwhile, combine remaining cheese, bread crumbs, lemon peel, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Uncover casserole and sprinkle with bread crumb mixture; bake 5 minutes more. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.