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Orzo Risotto with Buttery Shrimp*

6 oz. asparagus tips
1/2-lb. (225 g) medium (30-40 ct.) shrimp
3 oz. (55 g) butter
12 oz. (340 g) orzo
1 cup (235 mL) chicken broth
1/2 cup (50 g) grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. (7 g) chopped parsley
salt & pepper

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large sauce pan. When the water begins to boil, add about a tablespoon of salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.

Remove the asparagus from the water and set aside. Add orzo to water and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt six tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan. Once the butter was melted, let it brown until it produces a nutty fragrance. Drain the shrimp one last time and add them to the pan. Lightly salt and pepper them. Then, cook the shrimp for one full minute before flipping them over and cooking for a final minute.

While the shrimp is cooking and the orzo is boiling, cut the asparagus into 1-in. (2.5 cm) pieces.

Remove the shrimp from the pan.

Drain the orzo, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.

Pour the chicken broth into the sauté pan to deglaze it. Bring to a boil, then add to the orzo pot along with the reserved water.

Stir the orzo and broth over medium heat until the liquid thickens a bit and becomes creamy.

Put the cut asparagus and shrimp back in the orzo and mix until heated through.

Remove the pot from the heat and mix in the chopped parsley and grated parmesan. Taste the orzo at this point to determine if additional salt and pepper should be mixed in.

Cooking for Engineers