I am always in search of seafood dishes that aren’t just salmon. Don’t get me wrong, I love salmon, but I think it’s time for me to finally expand my culinary repertoire. I found this recipe on Food & Wine and was intrigued. Traditional risotto is near and dear to my heart. When I first realized that learning to feed myself may be useful, risotto was one of the first dishes I learned how to make. (Fun fact: I even won a little Top Chef contest in college making my lovely risotto, that’s right). So the idea of an “orzo risotto” made me very happy.
|How can you say no to this?|
Ingredients: (I cut this recipe in half, the original is linked above)
8 thin asparagus
1 cup orzo
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Make sure to have plenty of water in there, you’ll need to reserve some of this later. Add the asparagus and cook over high heat until tender, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the asparagus to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
While the orzo is cooking, cut the asparagus into 1-inch lengths.
In another skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, reduce heat to medium and cook until the butter begins to brown
|“beurrer noisette” = brown butter by the way|
Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper. I suggest having the salt and pepper right next to the stove, the shrimp start cooking and turning pink almost immediately.
|about 10 second after adding the shrimp to the butter|
Cook over medium heat until pink and curled, about 1 minute per side.
With a slotted spoon, add the shrimp to the asparagus. Reserve the butter in the skillet but remove from heat.
|reserved shrimp and asparagus|
Drain the cooked risotto over a bowl, reserving 1/8 cup of the cooking water. Return the orzo to the saucepan and stir in brown butter. Cook over high heat and add the chicken stock and cooking water, scraping up any brown bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
|watching orzo cook is comparable to watching paint dry|
Cook over moderate heat, stirring until creamy, 2-3 minutes. Stir in asparagus and shrimp.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Transfer risotto to serving dishes and sprinkle with more Parmesan.
I love the colors in this dish (if you didn’t pick up on that from the 50 photos you just had to scroll through). Happily, it tastes just as good as it looks. If I make this in the future though, I think I’d prefer the shrimp to have a little bit of a kick (some paprika? maybe a bit of Old Bay? hmm) but this dish is beautiful and tasty just the way it is.