Thursday, September 23, 2010

Orzo with Grilled Shrimp, Summer Veg, Pesto Vinaigrette

The leaves are turning colors, some are already hitting the streets, sidewalks, and windshields.

It's a welcome change, as Chicago has had what seems to be abnormal- a long and hot summer.

It's the first day of Autumn! The autumnal equinox, and this year it's even more special- a super harvest moon. Way better than just a harvest moon.

Along with the quintessential dish of summer in a bowl, there have been a few other memorable meals this summer- like this or this or this.

I prefer this dish at room temperature, eaten slowly, fully conscious of every last bite of summer on your fork.

While harvesting your basil for the pesto, might as well make a batch and freeze some leftovers- just cover with a bit of EVOO to preserve. Making just 3 TB would be ridiculous.

Orzo with Grilled Shrimp, Summer Veg, Pesto Vinaigrette

6 servings as main dish
can be served cold or at room temp

8 oz. orzo
8.5 TB EVOO
2 TB red wine vinegar
1 large zucchini, 1/4" slices
1 red, green, or yellow bell pepper, quartered
3 TB pesto
2 TB lime juice
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (at least 26-30 size or larger)
2 medium tomatoes, heirloom preferred, rough chop (about 2 C)
8 oz. ball fresh mozzarella, 1/2" cubes
1/2 C basil chiffonade

Cook the orzo in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, tender yet firm. Drain well, rinse with cold water, then transfer to a large mixing bowl with 1 TB EVOO, mix well. Let cool.

For the pesto vinaigrette- add pesto, lime juice, 3.5 TB EVOO, and red wine vinegar to a small bowl, whisk until combined.

Place the shrimp in a bowl with 2 TB of the pesto vinaigrette, toss well to coat, season with S&P.

Place the pepper and zucchini in a bowl, add 2 TB EVOO, toss well to coat, season with S&P.

Fire up the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the bell pepper and zucchini for about 3-4 minutes per side. Let cool, then slice the zucchini coins in half, remove the skin from the pepper and rough chop. Grill the shrimp until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

To the large bowl of resting orzo, add the pepper and zucchini, shrimps, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and the remaining vinaigrette. Stir gently yet thoroughly to mix well. Season to taste with S&P, add a few more drops pesto and some grated parm-reg to the final plate.

No season defines eating more than summer. The grill, the barbecue, the parties and al fresco dining. CSA shares, farmer's markets, roadside veggie and fruit stands, festival and state fair food. The freshest summer sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, homegrown peppers and herbs.

Chicago has seen it's 8th hottest and wettest on record of 140 years. There have been many 90's, there was a record stretch of 80's. I'm ready for cool mornings, slippers, long-sleeve t-shirts.
See you around, summer. We'll miss you, but we know we can't live with you all the time, or it would ruin the relationship. You can rest assured that we love you more than your brother winter though.

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