Creamy Shrimp Scampi With Orzo
This One-pot Creamy Orzo Pasta with plenty of juicy shrimp in it is a comforting dish that is simple to make and never disappoints. It’s quite versatile - make sure to check out the recipe notes for extra tips and substations. Creamy Shrimp Scampi is a dish made with shrimp in a scampi sauce. A scampi sauce is usually made up with garlic butter and wine sauce, so very simple to make. It can be served alone, with pasta, rice or even crusty bread. Here it’s mixed into a creamy lemony orzo making this an effortless one pot meal everyone will love.
I love creamy orzo - stems from a guilty pleasure involving those creamy packaged pasta sides you find lurking near the hamburger helper and mac and cheese at the grocery store. I was introduced to them by my roommate and was forever ruined. Well this Creamy One Pot Orzo dish is better than any boxed pasta side you’ll get and way better for you even with the cream and butter in it. You guys love my Creamy One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken And Orzo Risotto and so do I so I decided to do a simplified version using shrimp - and you are going to love it.
Here is what you will need:
- Shrimp. I recommend either large or jumbo and I like to leave the tails on but that is up to you. Use whatever you like and have on hand and you decide wether you like the tails on or off. Makes sure and check out the recipe notes for an alternative protein, veggie version and dairy free version.
- Butter. Yes there is butter in this dish. I never skimp on butter because I don’t eat tons of it on a daily basis. Like everything in life and eating, it’s all about moderation. That being said, if you want to use olive oil or another type of fat, go for it.
- Shallot + garlic. The tasty combination of shallots and garlic adds so much flavor to our creamy spinach orzo. I love to use shallots in dishes like this that are quick and not low and slow cooked as well as in dressings because they have a more delicate sweeter flavor than onions - but feel free to substitute with onions if you don’t have any.
- Orzo. Any type of orzo will work for this recipe - regular or whole grain - I would love to find a gluten free one - if you know of any let me know. If you don’t have orzo any short pasta will work too. Broth/stock. I either use chicken or veggie stock that has is low sodium or no salt added. You want to be able to control the amount of salt going into the orzo.
- White wine. Scampi sauce usually has it and I love to deglaze with wine in my dishes as it adds an delicious layer of flavour to any dish. Most of the alcohol cooks off during the cooking process but feel free to leave it out if you don’t want to add it in.
- Cream. Just a little bit of cream goes a long way and if you want to skip it all together that is fine - it adds a creamy luxurious richness to the dish but for a lighter version just use a little broth in its place.
- Parmesan. It adds to the flavour and creaminess of the dish and a little goose a long way here too. For a dairy free version just omit.
How to Make Creamy Shrimp Scampi with Orzo
Start by seasoning and searing the shrimp then remove from pan and set aside. Then cook the shallots and garlic and toast the orzo in the butter remaining in the pan with the flavours from the shrimp. Then the pan should start to get a bit dried out so the next step is to deglaze with wine and lemon juice scraping the bottom of the pan to release all the tasty brown bits. Then add the broth and allow the orzo to simmer until it’s just about cooked through making sure to check on it periodically giving it a gentle stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Then we stir in the cream and cheese and finally we stir the shrimp back into the pan. Check for seasoning and serve immediately with extra Parmesan, chopped fresh parsley and extra lemon wedges and enjoy! So delicious, simple and versatile - I can’t get enough of a one pan dish like this!
- 1 lb of shrimp peeled and deveined (I like leaving my tails on but that is optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
- 1 shallot peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
- 1¼ cup orzo
- ⅓ cup white wine
- Juice and zest of one small lemon
- 2 cups of broth (chicken or veggie), plus more if needed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh parsley chopped for serving
- Season shrimp with salt, pepper to taste, and chili flakes; set aside.
- Heat butter or olive oil in a large shallow pan or skillet over medium high heat. Sear shrimp approx 1 ½ min on each side or until cooked then transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.
- Add the garlic, and shallot to pan and cook, stirring often, until shallots have become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in orzo and cook until lightly browned and toasted about 1-2 minutes.
- Deglaze pan with the wine and the lemon juice and zest. Simmer for a minute until liquids have reduced slightly.
- Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is just about cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Make sure to check and gently stir periodically to ensure orzo isn’t sticking to the bottom of pan.
- Remove lid and lower heat, then stir in the cream and the Parmesan cheese and cook another few minutes until thickened.
- Stir in the shrimp and cook until warmed through. Test for seasoning and serve immediately with extra lemon wedges and sprinkled with parsley.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to two days and reheated stove top with extra liquid/broth and extra seasoning. Dishes like risotto and creamy orzo never taste exactly the same after they have been initially cooked.
- Substitute shrimp with cubed or sliced chicken breast or even sausage - sear until cooked through (will take longer to cook than the shrimp) or you can stir in frozen peas, mushrooms or asparagus for a veggie version. You can finish off the dish by stirring in some veggies or greens too - I like to stir in spinach or arugula along with the shrimp.
- For a dairy free version use olive oil and substitute the cream with more broth and omit the cheese.
- The wine adds flavour and a lot of it dissipates when cooked - but If you want to leave it out that is fine.
- If the mixture seems a little more sticky than creamy, adding a bit more chicken stock usually does the trick.
- As with any dish, it’s important to taste to make sure the seasoning is correct according to your taste, I almost always have to add an extra pinch of salt and pepper at the end
- Make sure to gently stir the orzo while cooking so it doesn’t stick to the bottomed the pan.
Adapted from NYTcooking