Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Orzo With Shrimp & Feta

Here's a recipe that's easy to make and works great made a day ahead as well. A friend of mine made it for dinner one night and forwarded it to me -- I just made it for the first time recently and it was a cinch to prepare so I thought it' d be a great addition in any families recipe book. From start to finish it takes about 45 minutes and the ingredients are easy to find. It's a healthy meal too that you'll love -- I guarantee it!

You'll Need:
1 medium onion (chopped)
3 medium cloves of fresh garlic
1 tbsp of fresh basil (try using the spicy thai basil if it's easy to find)
1/2 tsp of oregano
1/4 tsp of hot red pepper flakes
2 tbsps of olive oil
1/2 cup of any dry white wine
1 (28-32 oz can) of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
1 1/2 lb bag of shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 lb of orzo pasta (it's rice shaped and comes in a box usually)
1/2 cup of kalamata olives (pitted and chopped)
1 can of artichoke hearts (quartered)
1 1/2 lbs of feta (chopped or crumbled)
1 1/2 cups of parmesan (grated --- fresh is really nice but the other kind works as well)

You'll also need a 13 by 9 by 12 inch pyrex and both a 4 & 6 quart cooking pot.

Time to cook:
Pre-heat the oven to 425 and fill the 8 quart pot with water and some salt and bring to a boil.

In the 4 quart pot add a tbsp of olive oil and the onion, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes and oregano. Saute over a medium heat till the onions are softened (about 3 minutes). Add the white wine and boil till it's reduced by half. Reduce heat to a brisk simmer and stir in the crushed tomato and salt stirring frequently till the sauce thickens (about 8 minutes). Stir in the shrimp and simmer about 3 minutes till the shrimp are slightly cooked. Set the sauce aside.

At this point add the orzo to the boiling water and cook till the pasta is al dente. When the pasta is cooked reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta. After the pasta is drained put it back into the pot, add the other tbsp of olive oil and toss. Pour the sauce, remaining cooking water, olives and artichokes and the black pepper and mix well.

Spoon half of the pasta into the pyrex and top with half of the feta and parmesan and then spoon in the remaining pasta and top with the remaining cheese(s).

Bake in the middle of the oven about 10-15 minutes or till the cheese is slightly melted and the pasta is heated through.

Enjoy :)