Then there’s baked pasta: Noodles that soak up cooking liquids instead of boiling water. Instead, here, the orzo absorbs the flavors of the dish, and takes on an even, internal heat that’s just, somehow, better than steaming in a pot.
I’m big on even temperatures these days. I like to mix my spaghetti up with the sauce in the pot before serving. Keep all the salad ingredients in the fridge for a while so they’re all the same temperature when I eat them. I like a beverage to already be cold before I put ice in it.
It’s not always possible or convenient, so it’s not like I refuse to eat it if the temps are off. I’m not neurotic or anything. At least not about food temperature.
But I digress.
The baked pasta concept is what made Skillet Shrimp and Orzo jump out of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food this month.
SKILLET SHRIMP AND ORZO
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups halved grape tomatoes, about 1 pound
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 pound orzo
3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in top position. In a large broilerproof skillet, heat 5 teaspoons oil over medium. Add garlic and cook until just beginning to brown, 1 minute. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 minutes. Add orzo and broth and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer to oven and bake until liquid is mostly absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Toss shrimp with 1 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Remove skillet from oven and place shrimp on top of orzo. Heat broiler. Broil until shrimp are opaque throughout, 4 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.
– Everyday Food