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John D. Finley: A one-pot meal that uses lemon and orzo with shrimp
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John D. Finley: A one-pot meal that uses lemon and orzo with shrimp

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Is orzo pasta or rice? Actually, orzo is a type of pasta made from wheat semolina flour that's similar to rice in shape, size, and texture. Whole-wheat orzo packs more fiber and protein than regular orzo, which makes it the healthier choice. For a gluten free option, you can substitute short grain arborio rice.

Here’s a one-pot meal that uses lemon and orzo with shrimp, together with a compliment of herbs and aromatics. A healthy, quick and delicious meal, it comes together in 30 minutes or less, making it an excellent weeknight dinner. Serves: 4-6

One Pot Lemon Orzo with Shrimp

1lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2Tbl olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1tsp dried basil

1/2tsp dried oregano

8oz dried orzo pasta

2-1/4c regular chicken broth

14.5oz can diced tomatoes, juices reserved

1/2c broccoli florets, bite size

juice of 1 lemon

1/4c freshly shaved/grated Parmesan cheese

Dry the shrimp with paper towels. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, toss, and set aside.

In a large oven-proof pan, heat 2Tbl olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and stir about 3 minutes. Stir in orzo and continue stirring about 1 minute.

Stir in chicken broth and 1/4c reserved tomato juice. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to simmer. Simmer just until pasta is under al dente, about 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, broccoli, and lemon juice. Stir in shrimp. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir again and simmer 1 minute longer if needed, just until shrimp turns opaque.

Serve immediately with fresh Parmesan.

Pair this one-pot meal with Lucas & Lewellen’s 2018 Santa Barbara County sauvignon blanc, given 90 points by Wine Enthusiast last October. This wine blends sauvignon blanc grapes, hand-harvested from two of their estate vineyards, with a small amount of viognier to provide balance and interest. The cooler Los Alamos Vineyard provides crispness while the warmer Valley View Vineyard fruit brings the tropical guava and pineapple aromas with flavors of juicy white peaches and Meyer lemon that lingers on the stunning finish.

Or try Brander’s 2019 Los Olivos District sauvignon blanc. Brander’s signature sauvignon blanc (43rd release) is sourced from their own estate vineyard in Los Olivos as well as a number of other carefully farmed vineyards mostly in the Los Olivos AVA. All of the grapes were hand-harvested with the fruit being destemmed and crushed and allowed to macerate on the skins.

This sauvignon blanc amounts to 2/3rds of Brander's entire production and is their most popular wine. A remarkable value, this vintage is brimming with bright refreshing notes of grapefruit and white peach. Blend: 97% sauvignon blanc, 1% pinot gris, 1% semillon, 1% riesling. Enjoy!

John David Finley is a free-lance writer and author of the cookbook, Sacred Meals from our Family Table, which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at jdfinley53@outlook.com

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