Whole Wheat Orzo Risotto with Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts (low-fat)

Inspired by Ellie Krieger’s Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta. I love the way she cooks the orzo in minimal liquid. It adds a yummy creaminess.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 (12oz) package frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups water or broth
  • 12 large raw shrimp (21-30 count)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Spices – Whatever you like -I like to use lemon pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided), more for drizzling 
  • Parmesan or feta cheese for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Place fresh or frozen shrimp in a single layer. Sprinkle each piece with preferred spices.
  3. Cook for a minute or two and then flip the shrimp. Cook on the second side until pink and no longer translucent. Remove to serving plate.
  4. To the skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and artichoke hearts and cook for a minute or two until artichokes are slightly browned.
  5. Add the orzo, water/broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and stir; continue to cook 3 more minutes or until tender and all liquid is absorbed. If the orzo is still firm, add a bit more water and cook until tender.
  7. Turn off the heat, stir in greens and a squeeze some lemon juice. Toss until the greens are wilted. Remove from heat.
  8. Stir in the shrimp to heat them up a bit, and serve.
  9. Sprinkle with feta or parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.

Orzo with Everything

This is a no-recipe. Add as much or little of these as you like. For ideas of other ingredients to add, see Ina Garten’s wonderful recipe for Orzo with Roasted Vegetables.

Ingredients

  • Half a package of orzo
  • Dash of cayenne or pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Pine nuts, pan toasted in a bit of butter (until butter and pine nuts are browned)
  • Golden raisins, chopped into pieces
  • Garbanzo beans (start with 1/2 cup)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Black olives, chopped
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
    Dressing:
  • Lemon juice to taste (start with 2 tablespoons)
  • Olive oil to taste (start with 4 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (start with 1 teaspoon salt)

Directions

  1. Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain and cool.
  2. Toss the orzo with dressing and taste to adjust.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper as needed.

Ina Garten’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes. It is loaded with vegetables and full of flavor. It makes a great side dish, pot luck dish, or even a meal on its own. It’s great cold or at room temperature, and holds up beautifully in the fridge. I modified the recipe slightly to reduce unnecessary oil. I have also simplified the directions. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use 3 tablespoons)
  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt (I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 pound feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled) (I use 1/2 pound)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (I use 2 tablespoons – there is plenty of oil already on the vegetables)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425-F.
  2. In a large bowl toss the bell peppers, onion, and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into long slices, approximately 1/2 inch thick). Lightly brush the slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once they are coated, cut the slices into cubes. Add the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables. (The reason I add oil to the eggplant separately from the other vegetables is because eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge and will prevent the other vegetables from getting coated).
  4. Pour the vegetables onto a sheet pan (two sheet pans may be necessary to prevent the vegetables from being over crowded). Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to the package.
  6. For the dressing, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Drain and transfer the orzo to a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing.
  8. Add the roasted vegetables and toss. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil.