When I sat down to plan meals for the month recently, I flipped through Giada's Everyday Pasta. I can't get enough of her quick and simple pasta recipes. She can take just a few ingredients and put them together to form a really delicious meal. When I came across this saffron orzo and shrimp recipe, I immediately added it to the list!
As is pretty obvious from the name, the recipe calls for saffron. Saffron are stigmas from the crocus sativus flower, which are hand harvested, making this spice quite expensive. I happened to have some saffron on hand from a recipe I made many months ago so it wasn't an issue for me but if you plan to make the recipe and don't have any saffron, I didn't want you to be shocked at its price tag!
We both really enjoyed this dinner. The olive oil and lemon juice combine to form a dressing with a light, citrus flavor. I did think the dish was a bit too peppery but Shane didn't agree. One great thing about this dish is that Giada says it's good at room temperature so it's a perfect make ahead dish!
Saffron Orzo with Shrimp
from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 pound orzo
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
juice of 1 lemon
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, bringing the broth to a simmer. Add the saffron, stir and simmer until the saffron has "bloomed," about 5 minutes. Return the heat to medium and bring the stock to a boil, then add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bit, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the orzo and transfer to a large bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the parsley, half the lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and combine thoroughly.
In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and the remaining lemon juice. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until the shrimp are just turning pink, about 2 minutes per side. Add the shrimp to the bowl with the orzo. Toss to combine and serve.