Ever since returning from Thermador’s Steamy event, I’ve been on a bigger than normal cooking kick. Plus because it’s Summer and the garden is bursting with great herbs and veggies to use, it just MAKES you want to cook. But it DOES NOT MAKE me want to clean up dishes, or be slaving in a hot kitchen when we are in the middle of a heat wave. So I’ve been searching out quick and easy dinners, that are super flavorful, AND that everyone in the family can enjoy.
I started to watch Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, ages ago. I loved her design eye and the glimpse into her kitchens. I also loved that she left a job at the White House to pursue her dreams. The more I watched her, the more I fell in love with her recipes. They are always simple, never with complicated steps. They use great ingredients that really bring out the most in a dish. Ina Garten’s goal is easy entertaining as she doesn’t feel the host should be stuck in the kitchen throughout a dinner party. Amen! I love this as it also translates to a family dinner, where mom doesn’t want to be tied to the oven all night! Amen again!
This is a great pasta dish. It is meant to be prepared with Orzo, but really, any pasta will do. I use Orzo sometimes as it looks like rice to my kids, other times, I do it with Penne or Fussili as it’s easy for their cute, chubby fingers to pick up.
Another reason I love the simplicity of this meal is that you can complete things in short 15 minute windows. While the kids played with their little kitchen this AM, I quickly chopped up the veggies and the herbs, and mixed the dressing. Done in under 15 minutes. Which is good, because I would have had more helping hands than I needed if it had taken any longer! But now that I’m done, and it’s in the fridge waiting for tonight, I can go about the rest of my crazy day knowing the bulk of dinner is waiting for me. Left to do? Roast the shrimp, cook the pasta and add it all together with Feta.
Roasting shrimp couldn’t be easier. I use frozen shrimp from Costco. They are cleaned and deveined with the tail on (and is super easy to pull off). I do this on a foil lined baking sheet. Less clean up in the end, just roll up and toss in the trash!
5-6 minutes and you’re golden….errr, opaque. Which is what you want.
Add the shrimp with the veggies & herbs, to the pasta, toss in the feta and dressing, mix together and serve. It has a wonderful lemony dressing…one bite of this dish just screams “SUMMER”! Nice served with a fresh Baguette.
We also enjoyed the leftovers as a side with cheeseburgers a couple of nights later.
Here’s to easy, impressive dinners, that everyone in the family will enjoy!
Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Shrimp with Orzo
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.
- Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don’t overcook!
- Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.