Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad

I co-hosted a dinner with a girlfriend this past weekend and each guest brought a dish to pass.  Some brought appetizers, a few made gorgeous salads – others brought breads, rolls, and plates of bars.  It was such a fun way to get together with friends, while sharing the burden of menu planning and food prep.  If you’re in the mood to have some friends over but are leary of all the work, I highly recommend this method of hostessing!  Most guests are more than happy to contribute to the soiree in one way or another.

My friend Lori made this Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad, and it tasted so fresh and delicious, I knew I had to share it with all of you – especially with all of the gorgeous shrimp that’s featured in the current ad.  It’s pretty, light, and comes together in a snap.  Perfect for a steamy summer evening!  Enjoy!

SOURCE:  Barefoot Contessa at Home, by Ina Garten.  pp. 74-75

Kosher salt
Good quality olive oil
¾ lb. orzo (rice shaped pasta)
½ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined (on sale, see note **)
1 c. minced scallions, white and green parts
1 c. chopped fresh dill
1 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 English cucumber, seeded and diced
½ c. small-diced red onion
1 package feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 T. salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil.  Add the orzo and simmer for 9 – 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente.  Drain and pour into a large bowl.  Whisk together the lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon 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, do not over cook!

Add the shrimp to the orzo, and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of 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.

This week’s Shrimp Spectacular features two different varieties that would work well for this recipe:  Sendik’s Brand Extra Jumbo Prawns (16/20 count) or Sendik’s Brand Jumbo Raw Shrimp (26/30 count). Ina Garten recommends a 16/20 count in the original recipe.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | August 11th, 2010