Eat Better Week: Shrimp Sautee with Orzo

It's day 4 of Eat Better Week, so give yourself a giant pat on the back because you've almost made it through the first week back to the everyday grind in the new year! All food aside, I'm practically jumping for joy that I've managed to not pick my cuticles at all this week, a New Year's resolution made out of sheer desperation since I'm tired of my fingers being in pain by my own doing. Anyhow, today I've got one of my all-time favorite recipes for you. As I sat down to write this, Shaun turned to me and said he's surprised I've kept it in my back pocket for so long being as I make it all the time (which he quite happy about, I might add), and I have to admit, it's way past time to share it.

I was given this recipe at my bridal shower back in '08 where guests were asked to bring a favorite recipe to share (thanks to sister Kimmi for organizing that one!) which were all quickly memorialized in my trusty red recipe book. Though I waited until Valentine's Day 2009 to break it out as a special meal for Shaun and my first ninth Valentine's Day together, I quickly realized that this dish is easy, quick, and delightful...and was immediately bumped up to once a week dinner status. I often keep all of these ingredients as permanent staples in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry, making it a major go-to on any given night. I really hope you like this one and give it a whirl! Here's the breakdown...

Shrimp Saute with Orzo
1 box orzo
1 lb shrimp*
2 cloves garlic, minced (again with the jarred version)
1 C white wine (any dry kind you'd drink - I don't often drink white wine, but when I do, I typically go for Sauvignon Blanc)
3 tbsp butter or margarine
juice of one lemon (if you like it reallly lemony, you can add the zest too. I find it to be too much though)
kosher salt
parsley, dried or fresh, to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions (make sure to salt the water!!).

The orzo all cooked and ready. Put in a baking dish with a splash of 
olive oil and cover it if it finishes before the shrimp.
Defrost, de-tail, and if necessary, de-vein shrimp. In large skillet, heat olive oil and garlic. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Once heated, remove from pan, set aside, and keep warm. In same skillet, add wine and lemon juice and bring to a light boil (this removes the alcohol taste). Oh, and don't be afraid to sample the raw ingredients as you go...

And make sure you squeeze the heck out of those lemons...though if you're including zest, be sure to do that before juicing them or you'll be in a world of hurt trying to utilize the microplane post-juicing

Turn off heat. Stir in butter and add capers (I like a lot of them, so I'm not giving a designated amount. Use as much as you'd like to eat). Once butter is melted, add shrimp back into pan and toss in wine mixture.

There's me getting my stir on while rocking out my Yanks World Series tee

Serve shrimp on a bed of orzo, garnishing with a bit of fresh or dried parsley (whatever you've got on my case, dried).

Now enjoy and be prepared for absolutely no leftovers because this dish somehow leaves behind no shrimpy survivors...the pan just clears out almost as soon as it's finished.

*Note: I always, always, always use frozen shrimp for this dish. And not just frozen, but deveined and pre-cooked frozen shrimp. My freezer is never frozen shrimp-less because 1) this meal is another weekly staple of mine; 2) it couldn't be easier to defrost, just put in a colander and run cold water over the lot of 'em. Pull of the tails and you're ready to go (this is especially handy when I remember to take a package of chicken out of the freezer once I arrive at work in the morning, tarnishing hopes for any sort of chicken that night); 3) It is so versatile that it can be used in a scampi, with pasta, in a salad, curried over rice...the possibilities are endless. Don't get me wrong, I love fresh shrimp as much as the next person, especially as the star of a fabulous Old Bay-seasoned shrimp cocktail, but I learned the hard way that peeling and deveining them yourself isn't a pretty picture. So go out and buy a bag of extra large frozen shrimp pronto and you'll be good to go on any given Thursday.

So what do you think? Is shrimp something you've ventured into making? Have you had a similar deveining debacle? Are you into the whole scampi-esque shrimp dish? Do you have another fave dish with shrimp as the star of the show? Share your thoughts!

Psst...missed days one through three of Eat Better Week? No worries...Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges, Turkey Pasta Mash Up, Portabella Mushroom Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower