Shrimp and Orzo Pasta with Pan Seared Tomatoes

This mild yet flavorful shrimp dish will take longer to prep than it does to cook. The cooking (with the exception of the Orzo) is quick – a few minutes here, a minute there, adding ingredients as you go. The easiest way to approach this dish is to have all the ingredients ready and waiting ahead of time, lined up on the counter and waiting to go. In the time it takes to cook the pasta (9 minutes) everything else will cook. In this dish; timing is everything – so prepping ahead of time lets it all flow flawlessly.

Hubby and I both enjoyed this new recipe. Kiddo – what can I say? He is NOT a shrimp kind of guy. And that was fine, more shrimp for Hubby and I! The Orzo Pasta cooks up on the creamy side, similar to a Risotto Rice. The shrimp is sweet and oh so succulent.  And the cherry tomatoes were bursting with flavor. If you can find them, an assortment of tomatoes is great for the various colors, sizes and flavors. After all, a little variety is the spice of life.

With a dish this delicate; a nice tomato salad is all you need on the side.

Shrimp and Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup Sweet Onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup uncooked Orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Romano cheese

Under cold running water, peel and devein shrimp. Rinse well, place into a large bowl and set aside.

Bring water to a boil for the pasta.

Using a 2-cup measuring cup to hold them, cut tomatoes in half and set aside until ready to use.

Using a 1-cup measuring cup to hold them, chop onion almost to the point of minced and set aside until ready to use.

Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup to hold them, chop fresh basil and set aside until ready to use.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. The pasta will take about 9 minutes to cook.

While pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper evenly over shrimp. Add shrimp to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. (Nice and pink). Remove from pan.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, and cook 3 minutes or until tomatoes begin to soften, stirring occasionally.

Stir in pasta and shrimp; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Top with cheese, and basil. Toss to blend.

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