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

Inspired by Ellie Krieger’s Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta. The way the orzo is cooked in minimal liquid, adds a yummy, creaminess.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12oz) package frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups water or broth (for orzo)
  • 1/4 cup water (for artichokes)
  • 1 pound large raw shrimp (21-30 count)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Spices – Whatever you like – my preference for this dish is 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 pieces of shrimp in a single layer. Sprinkle each piece with spices of choice.
  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 a plate.
  4. To the skillet add orzo, water/broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. Turn off heat, squeeze some lemon juice on top and taste for salt.
  7. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, and artichoke hearts. Allow artichokes to brown slightly.
  8. Add 1/4 cup water and cover for a few minutes until artichokes are tender.
  9. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and greens, and toss until the greens are wilted. Remove from heat.
  10. To the pot with orzo, add the artichokes, greens, and shrimp. 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.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite Ina Garten recipes. It is loaded with vegetables and full of flavor. This makes a great side dish, pot luck dish or 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. 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
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta
  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 pound feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne
  • Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425-F.
  2. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into long slices. Lightly brush or spray with olive oil. Proceed to cut into cubes and set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl toss the bell peppers, onion, and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the eggplant and toss. (The reason I initially separate the eggplant from the rest of the vegetables is because it will soak up every bit of oil and prevent the other vegetables from getting coated).
  4. Pour all the vegetables back onto the 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, 3 tablespoons 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.