Like any good blogmate, whenever Cara would get cookbook freebies from work (back in her publishing days), she’d let me borrow them. Unfortunately, I haven’t been as good about giving them back. Now, before you think I’m an evil hoarder, there was the matter of Cara’s impending move. What was the point of returning so many heavy hardcovers if they were just going to be placed back in a box?
One of the treasures I held onto was How To Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I actually cooked from it. Then, recently–perhaps I was feeling subconsciously antsy that Cara might actually want it back for the bookshelf of her new apartment, or, I just couldn’t resist the thought of shrimp and orzo when Grub Street delivered this recipe right to my inbox–I broke out the book, christened it with a few splatterings of tomato sauce, and made this dish. Two days later, I made it again. And now that my version of this recipe is officially noted, Cara, my dear, I promise to give your book back.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Shrimp & Tomato Orzo
Makes 4 servings (Adapted from How To Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis)
16 extra-large or Jumbo shrimp (about 1lb), peeled and deveined
1 pound orzo
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 shallots, finely chopped
9 scallions, thickly sliced
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cups smooth tomato sauce or puree (or a good, store-bought marinara)
5 ounces baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the orzo according to package directions, drain, and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Reserve, keeping warm.
In the meantime, in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-high flame. Add the garlic and shallots, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the scallions and shrimp, and sear for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook for 2 minutes and remove the shrimp to the reserved orzo. Continue to reduce the liquid until the mixture has thickened (2 to 3 minutes), and season with salt and pepper.
To the pot, add the orzo and shrimp, spinach, and feta if using, and toss to combine. Spoon the orzo into bowls and garnish with a scatter of parsley leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.