Thursday, January 5, 2012

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo

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!

Princess twirl

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!

Roasted Shrimp

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?

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo

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 & Orzo

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

1 quart fish stock (optional)
1/2 box orzo pasta (I like Barilla)
Kosher salt
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. Unless you're totally impatient like me, set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.


kyleen said...

This looks delicious! I love orzo. I mean, it's so deceiving: it looks like rice, but it's actually pasta. One time, I served it to my brothers and they thought it was rice up until they took a bite. They were so confused!

dani said...

:) Orzo is a lot of fun! It's my favorite for any sort of pasta served cold/room temp.