I love when a group of people just click; when conversation flows so easily that three hours after dinner has been served folks are still chatting away, sipping their wine, and nibbling on the odds and ends left on the table. I’m lucky to have such a group a friends very close by. By close by I mean literally across the street. One is my former roommate, the second is my old roommate’s former roommate, and the third is the second’s current roommate (who were roommates in college). A lot of roommate connections.
Our group is full of skilled cooks, so we always dine in. These evenings are extremely laid back, to the point where my outfits often closely mirror pajamas. After gorging myself at the apartment of two of the girls last week, I only felt it right that I host the next dinner. I’m on a perpetual hunt for dinner party appropriate dishes- things you can make ahead that aren’t too fussy, but still provide something special for your guests. Despite the fact that this orzo recipe has been sitting in a cookbook on my shelf for years, I only recently discovered it. Given the results, it will definitely be a summer staple. Coincidentally, I also think it would make for an excellent Easter brunch dish.
I’m headed to Boston to celebrate the holiday with my family and some long time family friends. I don’t know what it is about Easter candy, but I seem to favor it the most out of all the holidays (perhaps it’s the pastel colors?). As I shared with my mother earlier this week, just because I’m 25 doesn’t mean I still don’t require a box of Peeps to myself.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Roasted Shrimp and Orzo adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
Serves 6 dinner size portions
1 lb orzo
1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 chopped scallions
1 English cucumber, unpeeled and diced
1 1/4 cup good feta cheese, small dice/ crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large pot of water, 1 tsp salt, and splash of oil to boil.
Once boiling drop in orzo and cook til al dente (8-9 minutes). Meanwhile whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and several grinds fresh black pepper. Once pasta is cooked drain, pour into serving bowl, and toss well with dressing. Set aside.
Lay shrimp on a baking sheet, drizzles with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roasted for 5-6 minutes. Shrimp will be light pink when done cooking.
Add the shrimp, chopped herbs, scallions, onions, cucumber, 1/2 tsp salt, and several grinds black pepper to the orzo. Toss gently to combine. Next add the feta and fold carefully into the orzo. Set aside at room temperature for an hour to allow the flavors to blend or store covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Dish can be made one day ahead. Remove from fridge 1 hour before serving and taste to adjust seasonings. You likely will need to add a bit more lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.