I will never tire of having shrimp or other seafood in the freezer for a quick and healthy meal. Any time there is a good sale, I try to load up. Shrimp in particular is a great protein that you can thaw in minutes on those days you have forgotten to take something from the freezer the night before. Then there’s the quick-cooking and versatile pasta, orzo. It is a great substitute for rice in hot dishes and a fun swap for other pastas in cold salads. Orzo also does a good job absorbing the flavors of the cooking liquid it’s boiled in, which creates a perfect opportunity to use up extra stock or broth from the fridge. Greens like arugula make a nutritious addition to pasta, and are a nice way to use them up when you’ve bought a lot and they start to get limp and unappealing for your salad. The simple ingredients in this dish will ensure you have a quick dinner even when you’ve not planned a thing!
1 pound dried orzo pasta
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, zested first, then juiced (should yield about 1 tablespoon of zest)
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (start with 1/2 t., then add more for more spiciness)
2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup dry white wine, low-sodium chicken stock, or water
1 pound peeled and deveined cooked shrimp (you can add it frozen or thawed)
4 ounces fresh arugula, roughly chopped (use as much or as little as you have)
1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Grated Romano cheese, to garnish, optional
Fresh parsley, chopped for garnishing, optional
- Get a large pan of water boiling, add a tablespoon of kosher salt, then the orzo, and cook according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, get your ingredients prepped, then in a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the lemon zest, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for 30-60 seconds, stirring frequently so nothing burns.
- Add the quartered tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes until they begin to break down a little. Then stir in the white wine/stock/water and cook another minute or two.
- Toss the shrimp, arugula, kosher salt, and pepper to the pan; continue to let the shrimp heat through and the arugula wilt until the orzo is ready.
- When the orzo is done, drain well and add to the sauce. Let everything warm up and the flavors mingle, then stir in the fresh lemon juice, serve with a sprinkle of Romano cheese and parsley, and nosh!