Jun 14, 2010

Shrimp and Orzo

Shrimp sauteed with orzo, yellow pepper and grape tomatoes.

I remember the first time I tried shrimp was of course at the beach. I took one look at the creatures and was very hesitant to try the little sea animal BUT after one dip in the cocktail sauce, I sat in one place for about an hour and probably ate half a pound of shrimp myself! Jordan wasn’t the biggest fan at first either, however, we’ve been preparing it in different ways and pairing it with new things and it’s making more and more frequent appearances on our dinner plates. One of the best things about shrimp in my book is how fast you can cook it! I always try to get it deveined and peeled at the store to save me a yucky mess at home but also time. If they’re already cleaned for you it can literally only take about 8 minutes from start to finish until you’re ready to eat it! This shrimp and orzo meal is another great quick meal and I threw in some leftover yellow pepper and cherry tomatoes, which added color but gave the meal a little more substance!

Here’s what you’re going to need:


  • 1/2 cup of uncooked orzo
  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 lb of cleaned shrimp
  • dried parsley
  • zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

First things first. Start boiling the water for your pasta. As always, I like to add a bit of kosher salt to the water for flavor. Once the water is boiling you can add the orzo and stir occasionally to keep things from sticking. It usually takes about 10 minutes to cook the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking you can take care of the shrimp. Hopefully you were lucky enough to get the shrimp cleaned with no veins and they were peeled. If you were not, you want to devein, peel and wash them before you start the saute. If you need some tips on deveining, here is a great instructional video: Deveining shrimp.

For this recipe we’re going to saute the shrimp in a pan at medium heat. You want to drizzle some olive oil in your pan and let that heat up for a moment. While the oil heats up you can go ahead and chop up your garlic and then add that to the pan to saute first. Let this go for about a minute and then you can add your cleaned shrimp. When I get all the shrimp in the pan I like to go ahead and sprinkle some cracked pepper on them with 1 or 2 pinches of dried parsley. Let the shrimp sit on this side for 3-4 minutes and you’ll start to see the little guys turning a pink/white from the bottom up as they start to cook through. After the first few minutes you can flip them. Add a little more pepper and parsley to the new side facing up and then cook for another 3-4 minutes. At this point, your shrimp should have shrunk a little bit on you and they should be completely white/pink throughout. When you feel like they’re done, remove them from the pan and keep them in a bowl with some tinfoil on top to keep things warm.

Shrimp that have been cooked completely and are ready to transfer off the heat.

In the same pan that you cooked the shrimp in, add 1/2 cup of dry white wine and juice from half a lemon. You need to bring this to a boil, and then once things start bubbling you can reduce the heat again and let the liquid reduce by half. It’ll take just a few minutes so don’t expect the liquid to just disappear right away! However, while you wait for this, it’s a good time to wash and half as many cherry tomatoes as you like and then chop up half a yellow pepper. Once the wine and lemon juice cook down, remove the pan from the heat and add in the butter, lemon zest and another pinch of dried parsley. Keep stirring the butter until it’s completed melted and now you’ve got a nice sauce to pour over the shrimp.

Back to your orzo. If at any time it’s done cooking before the shrimp and sauce bit, you can just drain it, add a drizzle of olive oil to keep things from sticking and then just put the top on the pot and it will stay warm. I like to just add the cherry tomatoes and yellow pepper to the cooked orzo and let the heat warm up the veggies.

Once the pasta, shrimp and sauce are complete all you need to do is plate. You can certainly mix the shrimp right into the pasta or you can add orzo to your plate and arrange the shrimp on top. Then just drizzle as much sauce as you would like over your pasta/shrimp combo and grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top and you’re good to go!

Shrimp and orzo for two!

I usually don’t make sauces because I’m not a very “saucy” girl but for this meal I made an exception and can say it makes a world of a difference!! The added yellow pepper and cherry tomatoes are a great addition too, especially right now in the summer when they’re in full season and so delicious! That’s another reason why I like to let the heat from the pasta just warm them up so that you don’t loose any of their fresh flavors. Well that wraps this meal up. It’s a great way to use shrimp, super easy and fast but provides flavor that won’t disappoint! For now, that’s shrimp and orzo…in the shell of a nut!

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