Sun-dried Tomato and Lemon Orzo with Shrimp

My Italian husband could eat pasta every day of the week and be the happiest man alive.  So, every now again, I whip up a pasta recipe to keep him smiling.

This week, I created a quick and easy orzo pasta dish that I thought I would share with you.  I really wanted to incorporate some saffron into this dish.  I am a saffron newbie, but I think it looks so cool.

Saffron is the deep orange and aromatic dried stigma of a purple crocus originating in the eastern Mediterranean. Saffron is added to recipes for its earthy flavor, but also adds color to a dish.

To make my pasta dish a filling and high protein meal, I added some shrimp.  I purchase frozen, raw, deveined and shelled shrimp to keep on hand at all times.  Simply rinse the frozen shrimp in a colander under running cold water and it defrosts in no time.

To make the orzo, follow instructions on the box or you can boil with chicken broth like I did to infuse a bit more flavor.

I like to add lemon and flat leaf parsley to almost all of my pasta recipes.  Together they add a nice flavor and I believe the lemon juice helps your body digest foods better.

Russ is a HUGE fan of sun-dried tomatoes, so again, I add some for the harding working guy in my life!  It’s the little things that count, right?

All mixed up this dish is so light and tasty.  Serve with a side of arugula salad with lemon and olive oil and some shaved parmesan cheese and you have a well-balanced and yummy meal, fit for the Italian [or not] in your life!

A little feta cheese on top is nice too!

Here’s the basic recipe but tweak as you desire adding other fresh herbs such as basil, dill or chives.  Perhaps try grilled or roasted shrimp instead for a different flavor too!

Sun-dried Tomato and Lemon Orzo with Shrimp

4 cups chicken broth

1 lb orzo pasta

1/2 tsp saffron threads

2 lemons, juiced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into strips (can use oiled or dry)

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 lb raw shrimp, deveined and peeled [okay if tail intact], defrosted by running cold water over shrimp in colander for about 3-5 minutes.

4 TB olive oil

Sea salt, pepper to taste

  • Boil chicken broth and add orzo, cooking per package directions about 8-10 minutes (the broth will be absorbed).
  • Add saffron to the broth while the pasta is cooking.
  • Add a 1/2 cup of water as necessary if broth evaporates out before orzo is fully cooked and give a quick stir.
  • While orzo is cooking, add 2 TB olive to large skillet and toss in shrimp and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally and season with a dash of salt and pepper, cook about 3-5 minutes until shrimp is opaque, fully pink and cooked through.
  • Add orzo to serving dish and toss in remaining 2 TB olive oil, lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley-stir to blend ingredients.  Season with sea salt and pepper. Toss gently with shrimp and serve right away with a generous side salad.  I love me some arugula salad with this orzo dish! 🙂
FODMAPs-friendly version:
Sub in your favorite rice or quinoa pasta and use a low FODMAP chicken broth 0r homemade broth.  Add 1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half, although the small amount of sun-dried tomatoes would probably be okay. [Anyone have a rice orzo brand they would like to share?]