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Shrimp Scampi with Orzo
The universal appeal of shrimp scampi, frankly, isn’t the shrimp but the pan sauce: garlicky butter lightened with white wine and bursts of lemon, parsley and red-pepper flakes. Scampi is often tossed with pasta or served with crusty bread, but this version instead uses quick-cooking orzo. It simmers directly in the pan sauce, imparting a starchy gloss — and soaking up the garlicky scampi flavors. Toss the shrimp with some garlic, lemon zest and red-pepper flakes to marinate while the pasta gets a head start on the stove, then simply toss the shrimp on top of the orzo to steam. It all comes together in a flash, and feels effortless. Pair this dish with Caesar salad, steamed broccoli or arugula, or bask in its simple comfort, straight from a spoon.

Servings: 4

Servings: 4
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup orzo
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups boiling water, seafood stock or chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together shrimp, 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon zest, red-pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and half of the garlic. Set aside to marinate. (This step can be done up to 1 hour in advance.)
  2. Add butter, remaining olive oil and remaining garlic to a medium skillet set over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add the orzo and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the orzo is toasted, about 2 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the garlic from burning. Carefully add the wine - it will bubble - and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in water, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until orzo is al dente, about 12 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp in a snug, even layer on top of the orzo, cover, and cook until all the shrimp is pink and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 2 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
  • Bellaverdi
  • 4 years ago
  • Tasty, tasty. I did use Jessica’s suggestion to toast the orzo longer, to a light brown color. Because of that I delayed adding the garlic to avoid burning. Will cook this again.
  • Is this helpful? 466
  • Andrew
  • 4 years ago
  • Easy, very good. IMPORTANT CHANGES: use ¼ t hot pepper flakes, ½ the salt, use 1 ½ c liquid and taste the orzo after 9 minutes.
  • Is this helpful? 246
  • Jessica
  • 4 years ago
  • This was simple and foolproof - the shrimp cooks perfectly with almost no attention. I toasted the orzo to a deep brown and used lots of parsley at the end, and ended up with something slightly nutty and herbal. Will cook again regularly.
  • Is this helpful? 225
  • Dave
  • 4 years ago
  • I found 2 cups of water left my shrimp swimming. Next time I’ll use 1 ½.
  • Is this helpful? 182
  • CJ - NH
  • 4 years ago
  • 12 minutes for orzo is too long. I used a small orchetta and some feta it was fabulous. Some sliced tomatoes on the side with red wine and crusty bread
  • Is this helpful? 157
  • Lois
  • 4 years ago
  • Wonderful recipe. The orzo actually took longer to cook (14+ minutes) to al dente. Used store-bought seafood stock. Was I supposed to boil the stock before adding it? The recipe offers a choice of boiling water or stock--wasn't sure if "boiling" was modifying all the nouns or just water (oh, the dangers of a liberal arts education!). This recipe will become one of my standard shrimp rotations.
  • Is this helpful? 132
  • Mary
  • 4 years ago
  • I found simply placing the marinated shrimp on top of the orzo to steam left a slight raw garlic taste, will try again, lightly sauteing (but not fully cooking) the marinated shrimp in the butter and olive oil first to avoid raw garlic taste, removing shrimp, proceeding with the orzo, then finishing by steaming shrimp on orzo at the end. Agree on reducing the amount of liquid to 1-½ cups stock. I made quick shrimp stock from the shells removed from shrimp. Nice, light, flavorful dish.
  • Is this helpful? 130
  • Q
  • 4 years ago
  • Wow, surprisingly good! Doubled the garlic, and halved the zest, which I felt gave it a dessert-y feel (definitely personal preference). Tossed the toasted orzo with some oregano and thyme, and some fragrant peppercorns. I added a tiny amount of Pecorino Romano at the end as well as chives in lieu of parsley. Hugely successful in the household, will make again... perhaps with a bit of anchovy paste or pine nuts. Perfect for riffing!
  • Is this helpful? 109
  • pdxer1
  • 4 years ago
  • Love using orchetta.... little pockets collect juicy oil. I also use cherry multi color tomatoes when the orchetta is cooked and drop the shrimp and tomatoes at the same time and don’t cook more than 2minutes. Colorful and tasty
  • Is this helpful? 98
  • M/R Cooper
  • 4 years ago
  • Excellent flavor and nice presentation. Substituted Israeli pearl couscous for orzo and cooked a little longer. Used homemade clam broth (one cup), quick broth made from shrimp shells (second cup of liquid). Made a huge difference using flavorful seafood broth. Served in large bowls. Two of us ate entire four serving portion.
  • Is this helpful? 85
  • Jaclyn
  • 4 years ago
  • I made this recipe exactly as described and found there was way too much liquid resulting in me having to cook the orzo to death in order to not have a soup.
  • I would also suggest less red pepper flakes as this was incredibly spicy.
  • Is this helpful? 52
  • Julia
  • 4 years ago
  • I added a couple of tablespoons of tomato purée to the broth, and cut down the broth to 1.5 cups as suggested here. A large handful of halved cherry tomatoes in the pan with the orzo as it cooked. More garlic than called for. A delicious, deep flavour. Handfuls of rocket and parsley on the finished dish (which was quite wet-like a runny risotto). Green beans on the side. It tasted of summer and the Mediterranean, and even my fussiest daughter liked it. It was lovely, and I will make again
  • Is this helpful? 48
  • MMM
  • 3 years ago
  • Didn’t have orzo, made with linguine. Used quick stock made from shrimp shells and tails. Diners were delayed, so at halfway point of cooking pasta, had to take it off heat, cover it, and let it sit for 20 minutes in pan before resuming cooking and adding shrimp. This resulted in pasta that had wonderfully absorbed the garlic and stock flavors but was just al dente. Huge hit. Will make it that way again.
  • Is this helpful? 36
  • Bellaverdi
  • 4 years ago
  • Have now prepared again. I tweeked a tiny bit. This time I used seafood broth for cooking liquid. Originally I , too, found the finished product too soupy. Therefore, before adding lemon and parsley and finishing s & p, I removed cover and increased the flame for about a minute to quickly reduce the liquid. I worried this would overlook the shrimp, but at all a problem. The flavors concentrated, and the final dish was savory and wonderful. A dish for 4 barely made it through supper (we are 2!)
  • Is this helpful? 29
  • LCV in VT
  • 4 years ago
  • Tofu cubed. Marinate in a little oil, lemon, and garlic. Then pan fry until browned on all sides. Toss into the scampi after the rest has cooked.
  • Is this helpful? 28
  • brutallyfrank
  • 3 years ago
  • Relax. This is America. And the dish is called Shrimp Scampi, even though, in Italian, it's technically redundant.
  • Is this helpful? 28
  • Swede
  • 4 years ago
  • Hi Maris, fresh is better for this recipe as you don’t cook them very long (maintains flavor). BUT, I live in a rural town and often don’t have access to fresh seafood so I use frozen and it’s still tasty. My kids don’t know the difference! I use shrimp stock to boost the flavor a bit.
  • Is this helpful? 27
  • Bob Wright
  • 3 years ago
  • Made this for the third time....third time is a charm. Used top quality dried oriechette, which I toasted for almost three minutes. Used chicken stock, cooked pasta for 12 minutes then added the shrimp. Cooked that 2 ½ minutes, let it rest for a minute, and the chief critic (my bride of 33 years) absolutely raved. This is a keeper. 10 Oz pasta, 12 large shrimp, and finished with a handful of chopped Italian parsley. Awesome.
  • Is this helpful? 27
  • m
  • 4 years ago
  • Cooked the orzo for a shorter amount of time (8 minutes) after putting in the broth
  • Is this helpful? 24
  • Sheri
  • 3 years ago
  • I made this with 1 ½ cups of liquid but otherwise exactly as written. I did add my shrimp shells into the broth and warmed it and strained it before adding it to the pot. I used fresh caught shrimp. I also added some shallot and spinach into the orzo to make it a one dish meal. Next time I am adding some halved cherry tomatoes. This is a keeper!
  • Is this helpful? 19
  • Joanne Gipson
  • 3 years ago
  • I add an entire bag of baby spinach and stir before adding the shrimp. Give the dish much-needed “green” without having to make a separate salad.
  • Is this helpful? 18
  • Darcie Vandegrift
  • 2 years ago
  • Hey Covid kids- had vodka and powdered garlic, so that’s what went in. And, shrimp was frozen. Cooked shrimp 10 minutes instead of 4 with bit of water and watched carefully. Everything worked out. Viva la improv.
  • Is this helpful? 17
  • Rebecca
  • 3 years ago
  • After I peel the shrimp, I make a quick shrimp stock with the shells - med-low in a pan with 1 T neutral oil 3 min, add 2 c water and simmer for 7 min, press on shells while cooking and straining. I use that to cook the orzo in, following the recipe and topping off the dish with basil! Such an easy, delicious recipe.
  • Is this helpful? 15
  • anna
  • 3 years ago
  • I loved this fish! The only difference I made was with stock. Since I LIVE the flavor of shrimp, I’m not about to waste a bit. All those shells and the head spell flavor. I boiled them with a little salt and pepper and used that liquid to cook the orzo - what fabulous flavor!
  • Is this helpful? 13
  • Hiroko
  • 3 years ago
  • 2 cup water is too much. 1 ½ cup.
  • Don’t need to cook 12 min. 7 min is good.
  • Is this helpful? 13
  • MollyT
  • 3 years ago
  • Tried this when I was temporarily without a range so my usual boil-a-pot-of-cappelini to serve with the scampi was out of the question. Loved how the toasted orzo soaked up the sauce. I used the full amount of everything except just 10 ounces of shrimp and it made a nice entree for two. Oh, I did toss in a cup of frozen peas along with the shrimp so I could skip making a salad.
  • Is this helpful? 13
  • ssaitta
  • 3 years ago
  • Used the big orange pot and added the stock at boiling
  • Is this helpful? 12
  • Gerry
  • 2 years ago
  • An excellent dish! I made the recipe as written and for the last 5 minutes added slender asparagus spears to steam along with the orzo and shrimp. A one pot wonder! And the leftovers made a great salad base with cherry tomatoes, arugula and sorrel for lunch next day.
  • Is this helpful? 12
  • Kim G
  • 2 years ago
  • Lately I’ve been chopping my shrimp into smaller pieces in forky recipes such as this.. More intense flavor as sauces cling in the shredded edges, easier to manage a bite instead of a chew.. the platter stars a few prettily grilled intact specimens for special occasions.. using small pasta such as orzo is the perfect opportunity to save your pennies on smaller shrimp to be chopped.
  • Is this helpful? 12
  • P. Charney
  • 2 years ago
  • This is one of the best dishes I’ve made from NYT. It’s easy, delicious and quick. Simmered the shrimp shells in clam juice and used that as part of the liquid.

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