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Shrimp was on special this week! Very exciting, I know. I’d also been craving orzo for a while so I decided to throw the two together and ended up with this creamy, rich shrimp risotto. Though it takes about half an hour to whip up this meal it’s all pretty simple.

And it’s a great comforting meal for the middle of the week when you’re aching to get to Friday. The savoury shrimp are definitely a pick-me-up to get you through to your relaxing weekend. Since we usually just have pasta in this apartment it was a nice change to switch to orzo, while yes, it is still technically pasta, it’s a different taste experience than a bowl of starchy spaghetti. I’m also the only one who ever buys shrimp, usually it’s beef or steak and with my Italian roommates we always have to keep the pasta and meat separate. I’m still working on convincing them that flavour combinations can be so much better than having each part of the meal separately. It seems to be an ongoing battle.

But apparently shrimp in pasta is just fine so I went ahead and it was very well received.

Recipe: Orzo Risotto with Buttery Shrimp

Adapted from Food & Wine

Makes four servings

Ingredients:

2 medium sized zucchini (the recipe actually calls for asparagus but I didn’t have any so I substituted with my go-to veggie, zucchini)

1 3/4 cups orzo (12 ounces)

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1/2 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp

Salt and pepper

1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth (I keep some chicken stock cubes on hand which is really helpful for recipes like this, you can usually get about 7 or 8 for $1)(But don’t forget to add it to water to create the broth before you start your recipe, I sometimes forget, well, more than sometimes)

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions:

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo to the boiling water, cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, for 10 minutes. When you drain it, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water for later.

Chop the zucchini and saute in a frying pan on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a frying pan (you can put the zucchini in a bowl on the side and use the same pan from before) melt the butter over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the butter begins to brown. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until pink and curled, about 1 minute per side.

With a slotted spoon add the shrimp the the zucchini on the side. Don’t drain the pan! Reserve the butter in the pan.

Once you’ve drained your orzo and returned it to the pan add the brown butter and stir to mix. Set the skillet over high heat and add the chicken stock, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour the stock and  the reserved cooking water into the orzo; cook over medium heat, stirring until creamy, 2 minutes. Make sure you keep stirring so that nothing on the bottom gets burnt.

Stir in the zucchini and shrimp and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and the 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to bowls and serve with more parmesan.

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