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Monday, April 20, 2009

It's a Party! Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad

I hosted a Neoscape project coordinators reunion on Saturday night -- I don't know about everyone else but I had a great time! Our core kickass team sadly disbanded a year or so ago but these celebrations bring everyone back together and let us reminisce about the "good ol' days" (as well as the not so good) and catch up on all of our life changes. We are a very fun bunch and I sure do miss these gals and guy!

I made a few things for the party -- Mushroom, Asparagus & Fontina Frittata (cut into wedges), Tomato, Pesto & Goat Cheese Brushetta, Maple & Rosemary Mixed Nuts, and....this Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad (which was my personal favorite...Nick liked the brushetta best).

This is the perfect dish for any Spring / Summer party, lunch, or light dinner. It's served room temperature so it is perfect for a picnic or potluck dinner with friends.

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad:
Barefoot Contessa at Home

kosher salt
good olive oil
3/4 lb orzo (sub quinoa or brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds shrimp, 16 to 18 count, peeled and deveined (I only used 1 lb because I'm cheap and I thought it was perfect)
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-left parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced (also known as English cucumber)
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (this was my own addition b/c I couldn't believe the recipe didn't call for them....just seemed like second nature!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, sitrring occasionally, until it is cooked al dente.
Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5-6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, toasted pine nuts, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

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