Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shine Supper Club: Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables

I truly love the fresh and delicious flavors that welcome Spring into our kitchens and cuisine.  Fresh herbs, summer squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and peppers are just a few of the many tastes that make their way front and center into my cooking during this time of the year.  And that's why I was so excited to join in with Yahoo Shine Supper Club's April theme for Spring Cleaning My Supper!  In fact, that's exactly what happened recently when I decided to make a delicious pasta tossed with grilled vegetables and shrimp. 

A favorite dish for healthy, lite and delicious noshing, that constitutes a meal-in-one, this recipe was the perfect wind-down to my busy weekend.  With little more effort than chopping some vegetables, aromatics, and herbs, grabbing some shrimp from the freezer for a quick defrost ( I like to keep these on hand for quick and easy meals, like this), whisking up my favorite vinaigrette, and boiling the pasta, I was ready to chow down in a matter of minutes rather than hours.  I was pleased to sit down to 'fast food' that wasn't an assault on my waistline and wouldn't leave me murmuring, "why did I just eat that?".

This recipe is simple, yet it offers the best of flavors we love, especially as the days become longer and lighter fare is in order.  It's pasta salad 'elevated' with the use of the often overlooked orzo variety that's frequently mistaken for rice at first glance.  Cooked to al dente perfection, then dressed with the vinaigrette to give it extra savory punch and finally tossed with the grilled vegetables and shrimp and garnished with fresh dill, this is one dish you'll want to keep close at hand for long days and busy nights.  It's also great for picnic and bbq fare when the weekend beckons us to enjoy dining al fresco.

By now, it's obvious that I'm a fan. And when it's this easy, quick, delicious--and perfect for Spring--there's no reason not to be.

So here's to Spring Cleaning Your Supper....and Happy Eating!

Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables

1 pound of orzo pasta
Bell peppers, chopped (recommended: red, orange or yellow)
Summer squash, sliced
Zucchini, sliced
Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe for champagne vinaigrette

Pre-heat grill (or grill pan)
Prepare vinaigrette and set aside 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil

Season vegetables, except for tomatoes, with salt and pepper and lightly coat with some of the vinaigrette.  Place on the pre-heated grill and grill until lightly cooked through, but still somewhat firm in texture.  Remove from grill and set aside.

Repeat with shrimp, seasoning and grilling until shrimp are light pink. (Be careful not to overcook!)

Season boiling water with salt and add in pasta.  Cook according to package instructions for al dente doneness.  Drain pasta and pour remaining vinaigrette onto warm pasta.  Add in the grilled vegetables, shrimp and tomatoes and toss to combine.  Finish with a garnish of fresh dill.

Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.  Enjoy!


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