This super-simple dish is fresh and bright, redolent with the flavors of lemon juice and white wine, and enhanced with the aromatic oils in the lemon zest. The shrimp is showcased here atop orzo, but the dish can be made with any freshly cooked pasta, such as linguine or orrechiette.
1 pound orzo
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Zest of 4 lemons, plus juice from one lemon
1 cup medium-bodied white wine
¼ cup minced parsley
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.
Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, until the onions are translucent. Add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and reduce over medium heat for a further 3-4 minutes, until the flavors come together. Add the shrimp to the reduced sauce and gently cook until just pink, one or two minutes longer.
[Chef’s Note: Shrimp can become tough and chewy when overcooked – cook shrimp only until it turns pink and opaque. When cooking shrimp in a hot liquid, it will continue to cook after taken off the heat, so factor that in as well.]
Drain the pasta and toss with the shrimp sauce, parsley, and Parmesan. Turn onto a warmed serving platter and serve. Grate a little fresh parmesan over the top of each serving.
Replace the orzo with fettucine, orrechiette or even Israeli couscous. You may also substitute scallops for the shrimp, adjusting the cooking time accordingly.
Recipe by Mark Tafoya