Orzo with Pesto Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables
This recipe for Orzo with Pesto Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables will be one of your favorite go-to side dishes for the summer…maybe all year long! It is my version of a recipe from Epicurious. It is a bit time consuming, but super easy and so worth it! This recipe is a lot about taste, so don’t panic when you don’t see exact amounts…I promise I will walk you through it and it will be amazing! So…go grab some fresh NC shrimp from The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. and let’s get grilling!
What you need:
- 1 box orzo (cooked according to directions)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 container of grape tomatoes
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 large yellow squash
- 1/2 bundle asparagus (optional)
- 1 lb. peeled/deveined shrimp
- 1 package fresh mozzarella pearls
- 1 jar pesto (I use Delallo, or you can make your own)
- light olive oil
- 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves (chiffonade)
- red wine vinegar
- 2 lemons
- 2 limes
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Start by cooking your pasta to directions. As the pasta is cooking, you can prepare the other ingredients. Rinse your shrimp and place in a bowl. Season with salt/pepper. Add 2 to 3 TBLS of pesto, juice of 1/2 lemon and juice of 1/2 lime. Stir to coat the shrimp and place in fridge.
Cut each pepper into four pieces. You want them to be big enough to grill and not fall inside the grates. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into 1/2″ to 3/4″ rounds. Trim the aparagus (cut off the hard end). Place the peppers, zucchini, asparagus, squash, zucchini and tomatoes in a bowl. Season with salt/pepper. Add 2 TBLS of red wine vinegar, 2 TBLS of olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon and juice of 1/2 lime. Stir to coat.
When pasta is cooked, drain…do NOT rinse…mix one tablespoon of olive oil into the cooked pasta to ensure that it does not clump while you are grilling the vegetables and shrimp.
Heat up the grill. Grill the vegetables first. You just want them to soften just a touch with nice grill marks. Try not to overcook them…you do NOT want them mushy. Grill your shrimp. Depending on the size, you should only need to grill about 2 minutes or less per side. As soon as they turn pink, they are done. Do NOT overcook your shrimp.
Once the vegetables and shrimp are finished. Cut everything into bite sized pieces except for the tomatoes. I keep them whole.
Place your cooked pasta in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add 3 TBLS pesto, 2 TBLS olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon and juice of 1/2 lime. Stir and pour this mixture over the pasta and coat. Fold the grilled vegetables, mozzarella pearls, and grilled shrimp into the bowl with the pasta. Add the basil. Taste to see if you need extra sauce. If so, mix up another tablespoon of pesto and olive oil and a touch of the lime and lemon juice.
I like serving mine with a touch of grated cheese on top. This recipe will make a lot. It’s great to take to a party and will last…well, maybe…if your family doesn’t eat it all…in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 days!