Garlic Orzo Tuscan Shrimp

Quite often confused with rice, orzo is a short-cut and petite pasta that is often used in place of other grains. Also known as risoni, this little pasta, or pastina, is a wonderful base for many meals.

Orzo offers enormous culinary potential made with 100% enriched durum semolina wheat. However, there are other varieties, including whole wheat orzo made with whole wheat flour and tri-color orzo which is enriched with red tomato and vibrant green spinach.

Orzo can be used in a wide variety of recipes such as mixed bowls, soups, salads, casseroles, and side dishes. Another way to take advantage of orzo pasta is by using it as a filling or stuffing. It makes a hearty option for anything from stuffed peppers and tomatoes to orzo stuffed zucchini boats.

The shape of orzo may resemble a large grain of rice; however, while both are rich in carbohydrates, these two plant-based ingredients are quite different. Apart from their composition, rice does not contain gluten, whereas pasta, made from wheat, does.

With its origins in the Mediterranean, it’s no wonder that orzo wonderfully complements the tastes and vibrant colors of a variety of coastal cuisines. I think it compliments this Tuscan shrimp dish very well.

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Garlic Orzo Tuscan Shrimp
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil & cook orzo pasta about 8-9 minutes. Drain the orzo using a colander & set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter & add minced garlic & shrimp; fry for 2 minutes on each side or until cooked & pink. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl & set aside.
  3. Add the onions & mushrooms to the butter remaining in the skillet. Stir in sun dried tomatoes & Swiss chard leaves; fry for 1-2 minutes or until leaves are wilted.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low & add the cream; bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Stir in parmesan cheese; allow the sauce to simmer for about a minute until the cheese melts. Sprinkle the herbs & parsley over the mix & toss to combine.
  6. Add shrimp & cooked orzo pasta; toss to combine. Serve.