This Orzo with Shrimp dish is one of our comfort foods. We use a single pot to boil the orzo pasta, saute the shrimp, then cook a quick spicy garlic and tomato sauce. Combine all of these great ingredients in a baking dish with some feta and parmesan cheese, then heat it all in the oven for about 10 minutes for a delicious meal.
Basil is easy to chop up. The trick is to roll all the leaves together like a cigar, then chop them. First, stack up the leaves by size if possible, starting with the biggest leaves on the bottom of the stack.
Once you have an even stack of leaves, roll them up and place the roll on the cutting board. Hold the roll together with one hand, then cut it into strips with a sharp knife.
The fancy chefs call cutting herbs into long strips like this “chiffonade.”
This dish calls for the basil to be cut into smaller pieces, so cut across the long strips to chop up the leaves.
Boil the orzo pasta in salted water. Salting the water adds some flavor to the pasta.
While the orzo is cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients so you can assemble everything quickly when the pasta is done. Peel and de-vein the shrimp. Open the can of diced tomatoes. Chop up or press two garlic cloves. Pour yourself a glass of wine. (In no particular order).
Because the orzo will cook a bit longer in the oven with the other ingredients, boil the orzo just a little bit less than the orzo package recommends. Our orzo package said to cook for 8-10 minutes, but Dan took it off the heat after 7 minutes.
After the orzo pasta is close to done, take it off the heat and drain it, then add it to a baking dish. We used an 11×7 Pyrex pan, but any similarly sized baking dish will do.
Add some of the chopped basil to the pasta in the baking dish, as well as some olive oil, feta and grated parmesan cheese. Stir it all together in the baking dish and smooth it out evenly to become the bottom layer of the dish.
After tending to the orzo goodness in the baking pan, wipe out the pot in which you cooked the pasta, add some olive oil, and saute the shrimp over medium-high heat. The shrimp sautes quickly and you don’t want it to be fully cooked (because it will cook further in the oven). Turn the shrimp after a minute or so.
After another minute or so, the shrimp is ready to be added to the orzo in the baking dish.
With tongs or a big spoon, arrange the shrimp over the pasta in the baking pan, as evenly as possible to become the second layer.
Your pot is doing triple duty tonight! After the pasta is boiled and the shrimp is sauteed, return the pot to the stove and cook the garlic in the leftover shrimp juices for approximately 30 seconds.
Be careful not to overcook the garlic, as it will begin to brown and become bitter. After 30 seconds or so, add some white wine and stir it all together.
Add the oregano, crushed red pepper and diced tomatoes (with the juices from their can), stir it all together and cook for approximately 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken.
Add the remaining basil and stir.
Spoon the tomato mixture over the shrimp and orzo in the baking pan, trying to cover the shrimp as evenly as possible. Add the remaining leftover feta cheese on top, and pop it in a preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes.
Once the feta on top of the shrimp and orzo is just beginning to brown and the tomato mixture is nice and bubbly, the shrimp and orzo should be fully cooked.
We serve this dish in low bowls using a large spoon, which helps to make sure that you get a proper layering of orzo, shrimp and tomato in the bowl.
Orzo with Shrimp, Tomato and Feta
8 ounces orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, not drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain the orzo well and add it to an 11×7-inch glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons basil to the orzo; stir to blend, and arrange the orzo mixture evenly in the baking dish.
In the same pot in which you cooked the orzo, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add shrimp and saute until slightly pink, about 2-3 minutes, turning once (shrimp will not be cooked through). Arrange shrimp on top of the orzo.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot. Add garlic and saute over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the white wine and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered, until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Stir in remaining basil, season sauce to taste with salt and pepper, then spoon over the shrimp in the baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup feta cheese. Bake orzo/shrimp/tomato dish until heated through, about 10 minutes.
Recipe Adapted from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Orzo-with-Shrimp-Feta-Cheese-and-White-Wine-107904