Colorful Shrimp Orzo

Colorful Shrimp Orzo

Very loosely "adapted" from a Cooking Light recipe of many years past.

Ingredients:

12 ounces small shrimp, halved

8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1 large yellow, sweet onion, such as Vidalia, roughly chopped

1 each: yellow and orange bell pepper, seeded and diced small

1/2 cup parsley stems, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

2 cups parsley leaves, from one bunch of parsley, chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths (measure after cutting)

8 ounces Italian semolina orzo

1/2 cup of pasta water, reserved from orzo after it cooks

Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, to toss with orzo

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, to toss with shrimp

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, to sauté vegetables

Optional Toppings: grated parmigiano reggiano, sliced castelvetrano olives, red chile flakes

Preparation:

  • Season shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss with two teaspoons olive oil. Roast in a 450°F or 232°C oven for 3 minutes, just until pink and cooked. Reserve in a bowl. Cover to keep warm.
  • Prepare orzo to "al dente," according to package directions. Make sure to salt the water well. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Toss orzo in a bowl with 1 tsp. of olive oil and reserve. Cover to keep warm.
  • Over medium heat, heat one tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onion, peppers, mushrooms and parsley stems until the onion is translucent and the peppers and mushrooms have nice color, about ten minutes. 
  • Add minced garlic and cook over medium-low heat for one minute, stirring, just until fragrant. Season dish with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Stir-in the pasta water, lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, parsley leaves, oregano and orzo. Cook over medium-low heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed by the orzo and the dish is warm. Taste and season with salt or pepper, if necessary.
  • Serve and enjoy on warm plates. Sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano cheese, sliced castelvetrano olives and red chile flakes, if desired.
  • Run plates briefly under the broiler to melt the cheese, if you wish.
  • Salud!

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