In the pantheon of quick, weeknight dinners, this dish ranks easily among my favorites, because it’s one that guarantees at least one day of leftovers, if not more, if you’re splitting it among two people. It comes from Giada DeLaurentiis’s Everyday Pasta, which if you do not own, I would suggest getting if you’re as much a fan of dried semolina flour as I am but looking for alternatives to serving it with the reliable, if not a little dull, marinara sauce.
Michael had gotten a good deal on wild shrimp from Fairway (or maybe Westside) and wanted to do something with them, though he wasn’t sure what. These seemed a little too good to be dumped into one of our favorite soups that includes tomatoes and coconut milk, so he opened up the floor to me to decide. Knowing that we had a box of orzo, I rapidly developed a craving for this dish and placed my request; surprisingly, he acquiesced without any of the resistance I usually encounter when I suggest a pasta…again.
The real key to this dish is procuring saffron of some sort. The real strands are once again readily procurable for us, but in the past we’ve also made it with safflower stamen as well, usually known as “American saffron.” It’s a significantly cheaper option, as we’ve mentioned before, and while it doesn’t pack the exact same visual or flavorful punch as the Spanish original, it’s quite close and certainly budget-friendly.
You can find the original recipe here, but if you feel like adding a little more texture (like Michael did), slice half a red onion into half-moons and lightly saute them in a little olive oil and add to the pasta prior to cooking the shrimp. Serve with your favorite salad, and you have a light, simple meal that will tempt you to eat the contents of the entire serving bowl–trust me on this.