Shrimp & Orzo Skillet Dinner
Okay, some people are going to look at this dinner and say to themselves, or yell at the screen, as the case may be, “Is she high? My kid will not eat green things, or shrimp, let alone both together in a single meal.” To which I say, cool your jets people, give kids a chance to change their minds about foods in their no-fly zone. Even the most stubborn and particular eater (you know my feelings on the word picky, right?) can have a change of heart. And they’ll never have that chance if you don’t put something new on the table.
Esme had a sleepover party for her recent birthday and I made spaghetti with meat sauce for the girls’ dinner. When I realized I didn’t have onions or shallots to start my sauce, I decided to dice up some fennel instead, thinking it would have the same feel as onion and no one would ever know. Esme’s two best friends live at opposite ends of the adventure scale when it comes to food. One eats raw kale and nori for a snack and the other has a very limited list of tolerated vegetables she’ll eat. But everyone was tucking into dinner without reservation. The adventure pal suddenly piped up, “Ceri, did you use fennel in this sauce? It’s delicious – fennel is my favourite! I love the way it tastes of licorice.” I glanced over at cautious pal, whose eyebrows were raised. “Yep,” I said, “We’re all eating fennel!” Another glance. Eyebrows down, dinner still being eaten. Of course, if I’d asked everyone if they wanted a sauce with fennel in it, there may have been some no’s. But I just put dinner down and it was eaten, and I think, enjoyed.
And, finally, to the dinner at hand! It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s really delicious. Both orzo (a kind of pasta) and shrimp cook really quickly making them a perfect combo for a weeknight meal. I know there are lots of people who think seafood and cheese should never be served together and if that’s you, feel free to leave off the feta – but man alive is it good on top.
Okay, really finally, yes, Esme’s cautious friend tried something new in part to be polite because she was at our house not her own. And yes, if you’d like to send your children to me so I can give them something new, you can. I make something new about once a week and there’s always room at the table.
photo by Maya Visnyei
- Makes: 4 servings
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
- 2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock
- 1 x 14 oz (414 ml) can of diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup (250 ml) orzo
- 1 lb (450 g) cleaned and de-veined shrimp
- big handful of fresh basil, sliced
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) feta, crumbled
In a large skillet, sautée onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until they smell great and soften up. Add the oregano and cook for another minute
Pour in stock, vinegar and tomatoes and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper.
Now add the orzo and allow everything to simmer for 15 minutes.
Add your shrimp and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and opaque.
Sprinkle basil and feta over top and serve.
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