This lemon-mint orzo with poached shrimp is so easy to prepare and looks so elegant on the table. The brightness of the lemons pairs perfectly with mint, juicy poached shrimp, and tender orzo.
Isn’t this dish just stunning? We let mint and lemon do the heavy lifting in this beautiful shrimp and orzo dish. A handful of toasted pine nuts adds just the right amount of nuttiness to this dish. Poached shrimp are succulent and work so well with al dente orzo. You don’t need any butter or cream in this dish, but there’s something about the broth that is just lightly and bright and we love it.
Lemon-Mint Orzo with Poached Shrimp
- Large pot
- Small skillet
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined (tails left on, if desired)
- 8 ounces orzo
- 3 stalks celery
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 small lemons
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts optional
- 1 small bunch of mint
- Extra virgin olive oil optional
- Lemon rounds optional, for garnish
- Dice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Using a vegetable peeler, peel both the lemons and set the peels aside. Juice the lemons into a bowl and discard the seeds. Pick the mint leaves from the stems and set aside.
Prepare the Orzo:
- Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Pour in the orzo and stir immediately to keep the orzo from clumping. Cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain and rinse the orzo and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Cook the Broth:
- In a wide pot, heat the 1 teaspoon cooking oil in the wide pot until very hot. Add the celery and cook for 3 minutes until bright green and softened. Add the garlic and cook for 45 seconds or until fragrant. Add the lemon peels and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Season with black pepper and crushed red pepper. Stir in the lemon juice. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Pour the broth into a bowl through a sieve and discard the solids. Wipe out the pot and transfer the broth along with the reserved pasta cooking water back to the pot over high heat.
Poach the Shrimp:
- Once the broth is boiling, turn off the heat and add the cooked shrimp. Cover and poach until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through. You may need to stir the shrimp once or twice to ensure they cook through.
Prepare the Toasted Pine Nuts:
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring often, for 30-45 seconds until golden brown. Turn off the heat and transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl with a sprinkle of salt.
Finish the Orzo:
- Tear the mint leaves and toss with the orzo.
- Divide the orzo between bowls and ladle the hot broth and shrimp over each bowl. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a lemon round, if desired. Enjoy!