Athenian Orzo

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Here’s a not-so-secret piece of info: I’m kind of a sure thing when it comes to food.

I know it seems like I never make things we don’t care for, and in many ways that’s not a stretch at all. If we really don’t care for something, I don’t blog about it. That would be unproductive for all of us.

But the reality is, I really like…most everything.

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Howeveeerrr…this meal tops…the…charts. If you like shrimp, I may just insist you make this. Sooner rather than later, too…for your sake. And then you can report back with a, “Nicole, you were so right about that dish!”

Quick. Simple. Fresh. Healthy. Husband-pleasing.

Perfect.

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Mr. Prevention commented on how the feta made this recipe. I agree with the man, but I would say the dried herbs add a lot, too. Recently, we found a Greek restaurant near to our house. The food is great and the bartender is pretty hilarious (and he gives us free booze!). While I can’t twist his arm into falafel, Mr. P has learned to love lamb. And there’s no going wrong with a gyro, especially when it is drizzled with an authentic tzatziki sauce and not greasy like in a burger joint.

Now if we could only get away from saganaki (flaming cheese) EVERY time we eat Greek…

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Having had the pleasure of traveling to Greece, this dish has very Greek flavors despite the very simple run-of-the-mill ingredients. None of the ingredients alone scream, “wow!” but together…WHOA.

Have I convinced you yet?!

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Athenian Orzo as seen on Gourmet: Day to Day adapted from Eating Well

1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup orzo
3/4 cup (3 oz) crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F. Coat a 3-quart baking dish or 9 X 13 with cooking spray.

Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Cook orzo in the boiling water until tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, half of the parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for 5 minutes. Drop in shrimp and cook, stirring, until barely pink, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Put the tomato-shrimp sauce over the orzo and lightly loosely stir to combine. Sprinkle with feta and the remaining parsley. Bake, uncovered, until the feta is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (about 1 1/2 cups each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 435 calories; 8 g. fat; 161 mg. cholesterol; 735 mg. sodium; 53 g. carbohydrate; 3.8 g. fiber; 36 g. protein

Result: I must say, this was the best dinner we’ve had in awhile. It was so simple, but the flavors were incredible – don’t miss out on the or parsley…mm! The feta is such a fun bite, and I love the tender orzo with the meaty shrimp. Excellent dish – this will be made again! Enjoy!

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If the rest of this week goes by as quickly as yesterday…this week will be a good one!

Be well,

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24 Comments

  1. April 3, 2012 / 7:34 am

    My husband will blow up and die if he eats shrimp… 🙁 So we don’t have a lot of it around our house. However… I’m absolutely making this anyway. He can survive on salad for one day while I shovel giant spoonfuls of shrimp, orzo and feta into my mouth. This looks amazing!!!!!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 4, 2012 / 9:57 am

      Don’t kill off Mr. C, but this is worth it when he’s not around 😉

  2. April 3, 2012 / 7:56 am

    Your photos are stunning! I’m so glad you liked the dish too. We honestly have made it 3 or 4 times in the last couple weeks because it is so easy and the portions are so big. 🙂

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 4, 2012 / 9:56 am

      Thanks, Jessy! And do you ever know my taste in food… 🙂 Mmmmm!!!

  3. April 3, 2012 / 10:34 am

    Is it strange that I always think of orzo as “The Greek” pasta?

  4. April 3, 2012 / 11:01 am

    First of all, love feta cheese – the saltiness and creaminess is awesome. Only one slight problem. Tony can’t stand it. But now that I am going to be cooking for my SIL again, I think this will definitely go on our menu – and the serving size is pretty generous too!

    p.s. – on the carb front, I think I’ll be happy under 175 per day – what are your thoughts on that? I am noticing that most of my carbs are coming from fruit too. 😀

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 4, 2012 / 9:56 am

      Hey Biz! As long as you’re above that 130 grams (the DRI), I think you should be fine 🙂

  5. April 3, 2012 / 11:04 am

    This looks amazing! Minus the onion, I am totally on board and adding this to the menu soon!!

  6. April 3, 2012 / 11:59 am

    Oh my! This looks fabulous!
    And what is this flaming cheese business!?! I need to find a Greek restaurant asap to try that out.

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 4, 2012 / 9:55 am

      You’ve never had saganaki!? Tell that sweetie boyfriend of yours that you need to go stat! Or, we could go together when I’m in Vegas next weekend 🙂

  7. April 3, 2012 / 1:52 pm

    You didn’t need to say anything to convince me – this looks awesome! Another one on my list to try – for sure! I love orzo and now I’m totally craving shrimp again 😀

  8. April 3, 2012 / 3:37 pm

    You convinced me – I love Greek food, especially feta, and this looks awesome!

  9. April 3, 2012 / 7:23 pm

    Well, I was convinced before I even read the recipe. Those pictures are amazing, it looks delicious. I love orzo, and I’ve never, ever cooked with it before. Obviously I need to.

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 4, 2012 / 9:55 am

      What! Orzo is like the best pasta ever because it’s so small and cooks so quickly!

  10. April 4, 2012 / 8:08 am

    This looks so very yummy!! I’ve had problems with my blood sugar being too high lately, so I’ll be staying away from rice and pastas. 🙁

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 4, 2012 / 9:53 am

      Dianne: Sorry to hear about the blood sugar — different foods throw people off, it’s frustrating! What about halving the orzo, using a whole wheat version, or both? Just some thoughts! I really do think it would be just as good with half the amount of orzo 🙂

  11. KG
    April 4, 2012 / 11:38 am

    I made a very similar recipe off of Pinterest a few weeks ago…. Agree with you that it is a great dish!!!

  12. Pingback: Pasta Dishes
  13. Becca
    June 19, 2012 / 7:50 pm

    Amazing! Absolutely loved this, and it was so easy to throw together!

  14. David M
    September 3, 2012 / 10:12 am

    My daughter recommended this, so we tried it. One of the best pasta dishes we’ve ever made. We had a big bush of basil so we were liberal with that, but I doubt we changed the character of the dish. Next time, double recipe so we can have an encore!

  15. Leona
    March 23, 2013 / 9:24 pm

    OK here you go. “Nicole, you were so right about that dish!”

    Hubby loved it, I did too. Didn’t have wine in the house so I used dry vermouth worked great. THX

  16. September 24, 2013 / 8:20 pm

    This is so delicious and easy to make! Definitely recommend!

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