Zesty Shrimp and Orzo

To Know:

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!

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To Get:

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

To Do:

  1. Get a large pan of water boiling, add a tablespoon of kosher salt, then the orzo, and cook according to package instructions.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Serves 4-6

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