This recipe for Orzo with Pesto Grilled Shrimp 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 for ingredients…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! Feel free to make your own pesto…I absolutely love this one from Delallo’s!
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 salt and pepper. I just threw the squeezed lemon in as well. Mix…add the uncooked shrimp, coat with the marinade and allow to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Prep the veggies for grilling. Cut the bell peppers in four pieces each…this will ensure that they do not fall through the grates. Cut the 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. I used a separate grilling pan for these and did not grill them on direct heat. Place all of the veggies in a big bowl and coat with kosher salt/pepper, a few tablespoons each of olive oil and red wine vinegar.
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. I had a few metal skewers laying around, so I skewered a few and place a few of the shrimp directly on the grill.
Once the vegetables and shrimp are finished. Cut everything into bite sized pieces except for the tomatoes. I keep the tomatoes whole. Cut the asparagus into one inch pieces. As you are cutting up the veggies and shrimp, cook the orzo. I like to wait until now because I do not want the orzo to clump when finished. As soon as the orzo is al dente, drain…do NOT rinse…add about a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the pasta as it is draining.
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.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. 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! ENJOY! This is best served at room temperature. If you have leftovers, refrigerate and allow to set out for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving.