January 2020

Orzo with Shrimp, Tomato, and Marinated Feta


7 ounces feta, broken into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
5 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/3 cups orzo
Salt and black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 strips of finely shaved orange peel
1 (14.5 ounces) can chopped tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
14 ounces raw peeled shrimp
1-1/2 cups basil leaves, roughly shredded


In a medium bowl, mix the feta with 1/4 teaspoon of the chile flakes, 2 teaspoons of the fennel seeds, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside while you cook the orzo.

Place a large sauté pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, the orzo, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Return the pan to the same heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, the garlic, and the orange peel. Fry for 1 minute, until the garlic starts to lightly brown, then add the tomatoes and their juice, stock, water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until boiling, then stir in the fried orzo. Cover, then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout so the orzo cooks evenly. Remove the lid and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the consistency is like risotto. Stir in the shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are pink. Stir in the basil and serve at once, with the marinated feta sprinkled on top.

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