I'm back! I had a beautiful holiday full of twirling princesses, a white Christmas, a little skiing, and lots of love in both New Hampshire and Chicago. I hope you had a great holiday season as well!
Now that I'm back, it's back to the kitchen! This week I decided to try out a recipe that you might have seen before. Apparently, it's made commonly enough that when I brought in leftovers for lunch my coworker knew within minutes which recipe I'd made. But I made a couple of changes to make it my own, so hopefully it will still be a bit fresh for you!
One of my favorite gifts this holiday season (though there were many) was from my baby bro, who had just returned from a trip to Israel. He visited Capernaum Vista Olive Farms on his trip, where he watched olive be pressed fresh, right in front of him! He brought me back a 3 pack of different high end extra virgin olive oils, all of which are delicious, and which were perfect for using in this recipe. (Just don't tell the Kosher Israelis that I put their olive oil on shrimp...)
I still had lots of fish stock in my freezer from October, so I decided I'd add a little flavor to my pasta by boiling it in fish stock instead of just water. I'm not sure it made a whole lot of difference, but gave a nice undertone to the dish. One of my New Years resolutions will be to experiment with making new types of stock this year - I think that making my own chicken/beef/vegetable/lamb broths will be a lot more versatile than the fish broth, since I can't get the best seafood in DC. Does anyone have any ideas for what to do with my last 2 quarts?
We really enjoyed this dish overall! I can't say it was my favorite dish of all time - it doesn't quite have our usual high impact flavor profile - but it was easy to throw together, tasty, and healthy. It was lemony, fresh, with some light protein from the shrimp (which were cooked to perfection after ~5 minutes), and I adore eating orzo. It'd be a great dish to bring to a potluck or on a picnic. It's also a pretty ideal dish to throw together when you need to eat a quick dinner so you can snuggle into bed to watch your team win the Sugar Bowl. And on that note, GO BLUE!
Roasted Shrimp and Orzo
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
1 quart fish stock (optional)
1/2 box orzo pasta (I like Barilla)
Good olive oil (like this)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 1/2 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup freshly chopped mint
1/2 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/4 cup small-diced red onion
1 cup feta cheese, large diced
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Fill a large pot with fish stock or water (fish stock just adds extra flavor! If using water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil), and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente (follow your package instructions). Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
3. Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!
4. Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the mint, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully.