Orzo with Feta, Basil, and Shrimp

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In Mediterranean cuisine, feta cheese is often paired with shrimp, the creamy, salty flavors marrying lusciously. Here, I add the crumbled feta at the end of the cooking so it soaks up the warm juices from the sautéed shrimp. This dish makes a satisfying light meal or summer salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (500 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sweet Spanish paprika
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt
  • 3 cups (21 oz/655 g) orzo
  • ½ cup (½ oz/15 g) packed fresh basil leaves, snipped into small pieces, plus 4–6 whole leaves
  • ¼ lb (125 g) feta cheese, crumbled

Method

In a bowl, combine the shrimp, ¼ cup olive oil, paprika, red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon salt and mix well. Cover and set aside, 1–2 hours.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo, stir well, and cook until al dente, according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Drain the shrimp, discarding the marinade, and add to the pan. Cook, turning once or twice, until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 1–2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp and any pan juices to a plate and cover to keep warm.

When the orzo is ready, drain and transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Add the shrimp and their juices and turn several times. Add the snipped basil and cheese and turn again, gently, once or twice. Garnish with the whole basil leaves and serve at once.

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