I have a rating system for recipes from 1 to 5 stars and never keep anything rated less than 4.5 stars (yes, I give half stars in a pinch). My note from that night on the recipe is not only 5 stars, but I also added the comment "very excellent". Any time I add a comment like that it means I wish I could have given it even more stars. If you like Greek food you really should try it. Not familiar with orzo? It's actually a small pasta shaped like rice and it's quite common in Greek cooking. You'll find it with the other pastas in the grocery aisle.
What makes this dish great is the combination of tender shrimp, rich tomatoes, salty feta and meaty olives. It's easy to make and it's great for entertaining or for a family meal. It serves four so double the recipe for entertaining. Well, unless your entertaining involves four people, of course. :-) Go easy on the salt because feta and kalamata olives are both salty - you can always add more at the table.
Making this dinner was a great excuse to go out and buy a pretty new gratin baking dish, which I've wanted for some time. I debated over the color and finally chose red over blue, only to figure out that you can't even see the color in the pictures because it's only on the outside of the dish. But I still like it, especially the oval shape. If you don't happen to have a cool oval baking dish, just use whatever baking dish you have on hand.
click here for a printable recipe
Greek Shrimp and OrzoServes 4
½ medium onion, finely chopped2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ dry white wine
1 (14-15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
8 ounces dried orzo (pasta)
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
8 ounces feta, patted dry and crumbled
Lemon wedges for garnish
Preheat oven to 425d.
Cook onion, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes in 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and salt, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir shrimp into sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are barely cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook orzo in a pot of boiling water according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water, then drain orzo in a sieve. Return orzo to the pot and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Stir in sauce with shrimp and reserved cooking water, then add olives and salt and pepper to taste.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray (or use oil). Spoon half of the pasta into the dish, then sprinkle with half of feta. Top with remaining pasta and feta, then bake uncovered in the middle of the oven for approximately 15 minutes until the pasta is heated through and the cheese is slightly melted.
Garnish each serving with a lemon wedge.