This recipe for Orzo with Pesto Grilled Shrimp will be one of your favorite go-to side dishes for the summer. Well, maybe even all year long. It is my version of a recipe from Epicurious. Although, it may be a bit time consuming, it’s super easy and so worth it! Also, consider adding this perfect salad to your Feast of the Seven Fishes menu on Christmas Eve. Make ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
This recipe is a lot about taste. So, do not panic because exact amounts are listed for ingredients. I promise, I will walk you through it. It will be amazing! Go grab a pound of fresh NC shrimp from The Carolina Meat & Fish Co, and let’s get grilling! Feel free to make your own pesto. If not, I absolutely love this one from Delallo.
HOW TO PREPARE ORZO WITH PESTO GRILLED SHRIMP
In a bowl, combine a few tablespoons of olive oil with two tablespoons of pesto, the juice of one lemon, and a few dashes of kosher salt and black pepper. Toss in the spent lemon. Mix. Add the peeled and deveined shrimp. Coat with the marinade and allow to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Prep the vegetables for grilling. Cut the bell peppers in four pieces each. This will ensure that they do not fall through the grates. Cut the yellow squash and zucchini into rounds. Try not to cut them too thin. About a half inch will work perfectly. Keep the tomatoes and asparagus whole for grilling. Best to use a separate grilling pan for these, as you do not want to grill them on direct heat. Place all of the vegetables in a big bowl and coat with kosher salt, black pepper, a few tablespoons each of olive oil and red wine vinegar.
Heat up the grill. Grill the vegetables first. You 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 the shrimp two minutes, or less per side. As soon as they turn pink, they are done. Do NOT overcook your shrimp. I had a few metal skewers laying around, so I skewered a few and placed a few of the shrimp directly on the grill.
TO FINISH AND SERVE THE ORZO WITH PESTO GRILLED SHRIMP
Once the vegetables and shrimp are finished. Cut everything into bite sized pieces except for the cherry tomatoes. Keep them whole. Cut the asparagus into one-inch pieces. As you are cutting up the grilled vegetables and shrimp, cook the orzo to al dente. Drain. Do NOT rinse. Mix the pasta with about a tablespoon or so, of olive oil as it is draining.
Place the orzo in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add three tablespoons of pesto, two tablespoons olive oil, the juice of one-half lemon and the juice of one-half lime. Stir. Pour this mixture over the pasta and coat. Fold in the grilled vegetables, mozzarella pearls, and grilled shrimp. Add the basil. Taste to see if you need extra sauce. If so, mix up another tablespoon of pesto and olive oil with a touch of the lime and lemon juice.
Serve this Orzo with Pesto Grilled Shrimp topped with grated Parmesan cheese. This recipe will yield a lot. It’s great to take to a party and will last, if your family doesn’t eat it all, in the fridge for at least three to four days! ENJOY! This dish is best served at room temperature. If you have leftovers, refrigerate and allow to set out for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. If you love this recipe, you will also love my Prosciutto Melon Skewers with Basil Pesto!
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