Good God. After two weeks on the road eating a combination of lot food, fast food and greasy spoon diner food, I was so utterly psyched to pick up some fresh ingredients and make myself a proper dinner. The result was so damned tasty I'm sharing it with you immediately. This dish was inspired by the Walla Walla sweet onions I tasted up in Washington State and the huge, succulent shrimp I saw on display at Pike Place Market in Seattle. If organic ingredients are available to you, use them whenever possible.
Sweet Onion and Cherry Tomato Orzo with Grilled Shrimp and Fresh Basil
1/2 lb. wild-caught shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/4 lb. orzo pasta
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 generous squeeze of lemon juice
red pepper flakes
salt & pepper
While bringing a pot of lightly salted water to a boil (for the orzo), place the shrimp in a shallow bowl. Season with salt, pepper, 1 clove chopped garlic and the chopped thyme. Drizzle shrimp with 1 tbsp olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix by hand, coating the shrimp and let sit about 10-15 mins.
Cook the orzo for 8-10 minutes, drain, and rinse with lukewarm water. Set aside. Heat a saute pan, (or a grill if you have one) and cook the shrimp for 2 minutes on each side. Remove shrimp from the heat and set aside. Add another dash of olive oil to the pan and add in the sweet onions, garlic, and as many red pepper flakes as you can handle (I used about 1/4 tsp). Sweat the onions for 2 minutes before adding the cherry tomatoes. Cook another 3 minutes.
Add the orzo, shrimp, chopped basil, and parmesan to the pan. Mix together and let everything heat through for about 1 minute. Serve immediately.