Case in point:
Today it was gloriously sunny, warm enough for sandals, bright enough for sunglasses. Just an all around ideal day. Took the dog for a walk with my son this afternoon, beautiful.
Two days ago we got a freak snow storm that put 2 inches on the ground and caused a 2-hour school delay.
Schizophrenic weather. Oh well, keeps things interesting I guess. And keeps my beautiful Northwest lush and green.
This dish to me is the quintessential springtime casserole. It is warm and comforting enough for the colder days of spring (or when you get a freak snowstorm in the middle of your sunnier days), but the flavors are light and bright, especially suited for springtime. So it's good to go no matter what surprises the weather holds.
Shrimp and Orzo Casserole
Recipe adapted from Cover & Bake
I like to serve this dish with a super simple salad of baby spinach tossed with a little red wine vinegar or lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.
1 1/2 lb. large shrimp (31-40), peeled, deveined, tails removed
salt and pepper
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion chopped fine
1 fennel bulb cored, chopped fine plus 2 tablespoons of the feathery fronds chopped (for garnish)
6 garlic cloves minced
3/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. orzo
3/4 c. white wine
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 c water
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
4 t. chopped fresh oregano (1 t. dried oregano can be substituted)
8 oz. feta cheese coarsely crumbled
2 T. chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat shrimp dry and season well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high until oil shimmers. Add onion, fennel and 1/2 t. salt. Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are tender and just browning about 10 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Add orzo, cook, stirring constantly until orzo is coated with oil and starts to become toasty and browned, about 4 minutes. Add white wine, cook until liquid evaporates, about a minute. Add broth, water and 1/4 t. salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is mostly tender, about 12 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep at a lively simmer and stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Stir in tomatoes, shrimp, oregano and 1 T. parsley.
3. Pour into a 13x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and bake about 20 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink and the cheese is lightly browned. Before serving, sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds and remaining parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.