ORZO SHRIMP RISOTTO WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS

Need a simple romantic dinner for two? I say there is nothing more romantic than a creamy risotto dish. The sticky and sweet caramelized onions on top of the risotto only heighten the flavour further. The orzo pasta is used instead of the traditional arborio rice to make a quicker version of this Italian favourite.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thin
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • generous pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup cremini or portabellini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 20 shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • handful of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat a shallow pan on medium heat and drizzle in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add in 1 tbsp of butter and once it has melted, add in the onion slices. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. Slowly saute the onion slices for about 25 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally. By the time the onions have finished cooking it should look bronze-like in colour, and look quite a bit smaller. Put the caramelized onions into a small bowl and set it aside.

2. In a medium sized saucepan, gently heat 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 cup of water. Then place the shallow pan (the one used for the caramelized onions) back on medium heat, drizzle in another tbsp of olive oil and add in the orzo pasta. Lightly toast the orzo for about 2 minutes. You should start to smell the nuttiness coming through. Pour the 1/4 cup of white wine to deglaze and add in the sliced mushrooms. From this point you should make sure to keep gently stirring.

3. Ladle 1/2 cup of chicken stock into the orzo and when the stock starts to disappear add another ladle. When you're on the last ladle, add the green onions and the shrimp. Once the liquid pretty much gets absorbed into the orzo turn the heat off and add in the 1/4 cup of frozen peas and the last tablespoon of butter. Note: if you want to thin it out a bit more then add in a little more water.

4. Sprinkle in the grated Parmesan cheese and the chopped parsley and serve into two shallow plates. Take the caramelized onions and put half on top of each plate of risotto. Serve immediately.

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