So, it’s been a little while since my last post. If by “a little while”, you mean 851 days. I don’t think it’s really that long, actually. Since only my entire life has changed.
I moved back to Memphis, where I’m from. From where I am. From where I originate.
(Side note: I’m constantly in the midst of this internal battle between using proper grammar and using vernacular. Sound pretentious, but correctly pretentious, or sound local and real, but open yourself to the occasional “Actually, it’s “from where I am”, to which I always reply, “I’M UTILIZING LOCAL VERNACULAR IN AN ATTEMPT TO HUMANIZE MYSELF MORE AUTHENTICALLY. I KNOW HOW TO USE PROPER GRAMMAR. I WAS AN EDITOR FOR CHRISSAKE!”, which is always so much more pretentious than just saying “from where I am.” Oh, my life is so difficult!)
Anyway, I moved back to Memphis, started a production company, started working in audio design and sales, went on tour, got really tired from tour, met a boy, got a regular 9-to-5 job, started business school (What can a philosophy major really do, anyway, besides more grad school?), became completely domesticated, and flung myself face-first into a tech startup.
I’m sure you could surmise from that verbose spittle that since I’m domesticated with a boy, have a 9-to-5 job, and am in grad school…. that I don’t have that much time to cook at regular hours any longer. You’re so smart! and/or creepily tuned-in to the universe.
This, my friends, is why this dish is so darn spectacular. First of all, it’s one of those recipes that you read and think, no matter what, I will like this. It has A, B, and C that I love. Oh, and D, E, and F! Ooh, I just love G and H.. And on and on you go. This is what one of my dream recipes consists of (vernacular intentional): orzo, lemon, dill, shrimp, feta, green onions, and red onions.
We’ve been hoarding dill in the fridge for a while now, thanks to a spectacular trick I recently learned but am convinced everyone else already knew. I keep fresh herbs upright in a glass of water in the fridge–have had better luck there than on the countertop–and, with the exception of cilantro, they stay much fresher much longer. I don’t know where I went wrong with the cilantro, but the roots got soggy, and the leaves wilted. Of course, it’s the most difficult, because it’s our favorite.
Awesome part of this dish #2: I threw it together on my study day and it was ready and waiting for me and the boyfriend when I got home from class. Yet, as we took the first bite, we both groaned and sank deeper into our chairs, mumbling about how incredible it is. I’m not exaggerating.
It’s light and summery and just overall perfect. What else would you expect from Ina Garten? Make this.
Roasted Shrimp and Orzo
Yield: About 6 servings
*Note: I halved all ingredients, which makes just enough for two, plus leftovers for one big lunch or two reasonable portions. I didn’t have quite 1lb. shrimp, so I cut the shrimp I did have in half crosswise and roasted from there, about 12 oz. I used almost an entire cucumber, and it worked well.
- Kosher salt
- Good olive oil
- 3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
- 1 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
- 1/2 cup small-diced red onion
- 3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of 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. Don’t overcook!
Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon 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.