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Orzo Risotto with Buttery Shrimp
© Ngoc Minh Ngo

Orzo Risotto with Buttery Shrimp

  • TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 4
  • FAST

When Ryan Poli and his kitchen staff tried finishing orzo risotto-style (stirring the cooked orzo with stock until creamy) they got fantastic results with impressive speed.

  1. 16 thin asparagus (6 ounces)
  2. 1 3/4 cups orzo (12 ounces)
  3. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  4. 1/2 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  8. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus; cook over high heat until tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to a plate. Add the orzo to the boiling water; cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the asparagus into 1-inch lengths. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until the butter begins to brown. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until pink and curled, about 1 minute per side. With a slotted spoon, add the shrimp to the asparagus. Reserve the skillet.
  3. Drain the orzo, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then return to the saucepan and stir in the brown butter. Set the skillet over high heat and add the stock, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour the stock and the reserved cooking water into the orzo; cook over moderate heat, stirring, until creamy, 2 minutes. Stir in the asparagus and shrimp and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and the 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to bowls and serve with more Parmesan.

Suggested Pairing

Light, lively Pinot Grigio.