Orzo with Shrimp, Tomato, and Marinated Feta

Orzo with Shrimp, Tomato, and Marinated Feta

The combination of shrimp, feta, tomatoes, and pasta is one that I love. I return to it time and again for easy one-pot suppers. Orzo is the little pasta that comes in the shape of rice. It’s easy to eat a lot of and is widely available. If you start with the shrimp in their shell, then keep a few heads on, just for the look. The marinated feta is lovely dotted over salads, so I tend to make a batch to keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Ingredients

7 ounces / 200g feta, broken into 1//2- to 3/4-inch pieces
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups / 250g orzo
Salt and black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 strips of finely shaved orange peel (from 1 orange)
14.5 ounces / 400g canned chopped tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
¾ cup water, plus 2 tablespoons
14 ounces / 400g raw peeled shrimp
1-½ cups / 30g basil leaves, roughly shredded

Method
In a medium bowl, mix the feta with 1/4 teaspoon of the chile flakes, 2 teaspoons of the fennel seeds, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside while you cook the orzo.

Place a large sautée pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoon of the oil, the orzo, 1/8 tsp. salt, and a good grind of pepper. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Return the pan to the same heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper flakes, 2 teaspoon fennel seeds, the garlic, and the orange peel. Fry for 1 minute, until the garlic starts to lightly brown, then add the tomatoes and their juice, stock, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until boiling, then stir in the fried orzo. Cover, then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout so the orzo cooks evenly. Remove the lid and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the consistency is like risotto. Stir in the shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are pink. Stir in the basil and serve at once, with the marinated feta sprinkled on top.

Source: Yotam Ottolenghi (4 servings)