Orzo with Tomato Basil Sauce, Zucchini, and Grilled Shrimp

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Horizontal platter of orzo with tomato sauce topped with four skewers of grilled shrimp alongside a jar of Rao's Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce.IT’S GRILLING SEASON, FRIENDS!!!!!

Sorry for yelling, but the aggressive use of caps and exclamation points feels necessary given that this is the very first grilling season that I have access to a real, live grill.

After so many years wed to my trusty grill pan in NYC—aka The Land of Very Few Grills—using an outdoor grill feels truly thrilling. THRILLING, I say!! Not to mention luxurious. Honestly, it’s been the highlight of my 2020, so I shall be grilling everything. You’ve been warned.

(Don’t worry, I promise to make sure every recipe is still doable with a grill pan. I shall never forget my roots!)

So, without further ado, I proudly present one of my finest grilled masterpieces to date: Orzo with Tomato Basil Sauce, Zucchini, and Grilled Shrimp.

If you’re not familiar with orzo (also known as risoni), it’s a delightfully versatile, rice-shaped pasta for which I’ve developed a particular soft spot over the years. It’s fantastic in soups, casseroles, and even salads, but I’m partial to it in a great pesto or tomato sauce with a vegetable or two.

In this summer-y iteration of my preferred orzo format, the pasta is tossed with thick slices of tender grilled zucchini and my beloved Rao’s Homemade® Tomato Basil Sauce that’s made with hand-selected ingredients, including whole leaf basil, sweet Italian tomatoes, and fresh garlic. The resulting dish is simple yet comforting with surprising depth of flavor—it’s one of those fabulous recipes were the result is somehow so much more than the sum of its parts.

You can (and should) eat this orzo independently as a plant-based meal, but if you’re looking to up your culinary game, I beg you to try it topped with balsamic marinated grilled shrimp. The delicate shrimp play beautifully with the flavors in the orzo, highlighting the sweetness of the Rao’s Homemade® Tomato Basil Sauce and balancing the heartiness of the orzo to create a special summer meal. Perhaps serve it with a bottle of chilled rosé and have yourself a little celebration!

As always, I’ve got a couple quick recipe notes for you. First, if you’re using bamboo skewers to grill your shrimp, do NOT forget to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. (This will prevent them from catching fire on the grill, which is rather important.) Second, when it comes to marinating your shrimp, please don’t leave the shrimp in the marinade for more than 30 minutes. The marinade is acidic, and it will start to “cook” the shrimp and make them mushy if they’re left for too long.

And now for some you do you options! Not a shellfish fan? Grilled salmon, steak, and chicken paillard (all can be marinated like the shrimp) are awesome protein options. If you don’t have orzo on hand, try this recipe with your favorite short pasta—casarecce, campanelle, and rotini are personal favorites. On the sauce front, I love the bright, fresh flavors of Rao’s Homemade® Tomato Basil Sauce, but the Arrabbiata, Marinara, or Roasted Garlic Sauce would be equally delicious. (Honestly, you can never go wrong with any of the Rao’s Homemade sauces.) And if you’re moved to add some cheese into the mix, I support you!

Now go forth and fire up the grill!

Platter of orzo in tomato basil sauce with grilled zucchini topped with skewers of grilled balsamic-marinated shrimp.

This post is sponsored by my longtime friends at Rao's Homemade. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Domesticate Me alive and kicking. 

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1 Comment

  1. Kate Nicholson on July 14, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Can’t wait to try this! We bought a grill last year, but it didn’t get serious use until about two weeks or so ago when our HVAC system completely failed us and our kitchen became a hell-scape to cook in. Now that the HVAC has been replaced (oh sweet compressed air), the grill is still getting a lot of use.

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