Lemon Pepper Shrimp with Herbed Orzo

Two words describe this recipe:  Fast and Delicious.  You can serve it to family and to friends.  It’s a great recipe for everyday and entertaining, and the best part is that it takes 15 minutes to make!  I use a nice-size shrimp so that you get a substantial, yet still light, meal. Have everything prepped and ready to go – shrimp thawed (if using frozen), herbs cut, lemon zested and juiced, and this dinner will come together quickly and easily.  Serves 3.  (Note:  I allow 7 shrimp per person.)


1.5 cups orzo (uncooked)
4 cups / 1 box of low sodium chicken stock (32 oz)
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely (or to taste)
2 Tablespoons of fresh dill (chopped finely)
Small pinch of salt

24 pieces of 16-20 shrimp* peeled & deveined -- this will serve 3 people nicely.
Zest and juice of 1 lemon – you need at least 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 big cloves of garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons of butter
½ cup dry white wine

The most time consuming step in this recipe is to heat the chicken stock to a boil.  Add the pinch of salt.  Add the orzo, stir, and cook to package instructions.  For us, this is about 9 minutes.  When the orzo is done, drain it, put it back in the pot, add the herbs, stir, and then put the lid on the orzo to keep it hot, if it finishes before your shrimp.

When you drop the orzo into the pot of chicken stock, start your shrimp.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, on medium heat.  Add the shrimp, and a sprinkling of black pepper (to taste).  Try to have the shrimp not touching or overlapping.  If your pan is really small, you can do the shrimp in two batches.  When they are in the pan, leave them alone for 2 minutes.  Let them begin to turn pink.  After 2 minutes, turn the shrimp to their other side, and let them sauté for another 2-3 minutes.  You want the shrimp mostly done.  You will put them back in the pan for a minute or two later.

Remove the shrimp from the pan.  Leave all of the butter / shrimp juice in there.  Turn the heat to medium low.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, white wine, and garlic, and cook (while stirring) for 1 minute.  If you think you might want MORE sauce, add another tablespoon of butter and another splash of white wine.  Let this warm through for 2 minutes, over medium low heat.  You don’t want this to reduce – just to come together as a sauce.

Put the shrimp back into the pan, toss with the sauce, and let the shrimp cook for 1 or 2 more minutes, until the shrimp is hot and cooked to your liking.  Please don’t overcook the shrimp.  You want it to be firm but not hard, warm with each bite, nicely orange / pink on the outside, and white on the inside.

Spoon the orzo on to your plate.  Top with the shrimp and a few spoonsful of sauce.

*16/20 shrimp refers to the number of shrimp – the count – that make up 1 pound.  You’ll see “the count” posted on bags of frozen shrimp or on the price-per-pound tab at the seafood counter of your food / fish store.  You can use smaller shrimp, or bigger shrimp... just adjust cooking time accordingly.  Put some "chef's tasting shrimp" into your recipe, so that you can taste for doneness as you're cooking.

Please note:  I have added almost no salt to this recipe.  It is weird, but I’ve discovered (the hard way) that this meal over-salts very easily. Leave it out, with the exception of the pinch that goes into the chicken stock for the orzo.  Trust me.  You can always add salt, but you can’t take it out, and for whatever reason, this recipe retains salt like crazy.

Not that the meal needs it, but a squirt of Tabasco never hurt anyone.  Just saying.

First published by Judy on September 19, 2013

​Shrimp are great.  Why?  Because they cook in 6 minutes, taste great, are low cal / carb, and give you the feeling of eating a special meal.  In this recipe, I use herbs from my garden.  You can substitute thyme for the dill if you wish, but don't skip the herbs - they add more than their weight in flavor the orzo.