Garlic Shrimp with Orzo is fast, fresh, and flavorful. Easy & elegant, this recipe includes fragrant aromatics and garlicky shrimp scampi with an irresistible butter sauce that’s bright and lemony.
I adore meals that taste gourmet minus the heavy lifting! Garlic shrimp with Orzo has all of the crave worthy flavors of a classic shrimp scampi- garlic, lemon, and white wine. It’s elegant yet oh so easy and pairs easily with fresh side items!
Shrimp comes in clutch when you need something that cooks up quick! This easy seafood pasta recipe can be made in under 30 minutes if you use two pans. Garlic shrimp with Orzo highlights aromatic flavors: butter, garlic, white wine, and parsley. Expect eager diners to be drawn by the fragrant bouquet as these classic Mediterranean flavors come together.
More reasons to love this recipe:
- Lemon Butter Sauce: This lemon butter sauce is everything! Bright, garlicky, and buttery without being heavy.
- Elegant Recipe: Simple to compose and packed with flavor, impress your dinner guests with a cozy pasta dinner that’s elegant and easy to execute. I also love this recipe for a romantic date night in.
- Flexible: Don’t have capers? Skip them easily. It is also easy to adapt to other pastas or substitute the shrimp on a bevy of other dishes like Cajun Alfredo or Bruschetta Chicken Pasta.
Ingredients and Variations
Here’s an overview of the ingredients you’ll need including ideas for substitutions and variations.
Chicken stock. I use chicken but vegetable or broth would also work. Or substitute with equal amounts of water and a bouillon cube.
Orzo. This recipe can also be served over linguine or fettuccine noodles.
Butter & Olive oil. Butter toasts better but Olive oil is preferred for cooking. Oil can also be subbed for butter. Skip salting the orzo if you use salted butter.
Shrimp. You can use any size, but I like the larger ones. Peel and devein but leave the tails on.
Lemon. Fresh lemons to juice and zest for 2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon zest. Use more for garnish, if desired.
White Wine. Choose a dry, crisp white wine. I suggest Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay, or you can use a cooking white wine. Substitute with Chicken Broth if you don’t like cooking with wine.
Capers. These are usually found next to olives in the grocery store. These briny little flower buds are optional but add a huge pop of flavor, color, and texture to the dish. It’s texturally exciting for the palette and simply delicious! I love them in Mediterranean dishes like Chicken Cacciatore.
Tips for cooking Shrimp and Orzo
Follow the recipe card for step-by-step instructions. Here are some key focal points with photographs for reference.
- Toast the pasta. The secret to success is to toast the orzo in melted butter before boiling in water and chicken stock. The orzo that I used required 10 cups of liquid total for 8 ounces of pasta, so I used 2 cups of chicken stock and 8 cups of water.
- Don’t rinse the orzo or add oil. If you let the pasta sit for a prolonged time, it may stick together. Simply give it a good stir while waiting for your sauce to come together.
- Sauté the shrimp. Since the pasta and the shrimp/sauce are in separate pans, you can make them at the same time. This cuts down cook time significantly, dinner in under 30 minutes.
- Taste Test for Preference. Make the sauce and pour over the shrimp and pasta before adding lemon zest, parsley, and capers to taste.
What to Serve with Shrimp and Orzo
For a rustic Italian or Mediterranean inspired meal, I like to pair this with:
Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave until warmed through, stopping to stir every 30-45 seconds. Or heat in a skillet with a splash of broth/water to rehydrate the grains.
Plan on about ¼ cup (or 2 oz) dry pasta per person. Orzo will more than double in size when cooked.
There are a few reasons why someone might keep the tails on while cooking shrimp: To make the dish look good, to enhance the flavor of the dish, and to hold the shrimp. You can remove the tails before cooking for extra eating convenience if preferred.
What's For Dinner?
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Garlic Shrimp with Orzo
- 2 cups Chicken stock plus water enough for package directions
- ¼ tsp salt & pepper
- 8 oz uncooked orzo about 1.5 cups
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 20 large shrimp peeled and deveined, tails left on
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley divided
- 1 lemon for 2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon zest
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon capers rinsed
- Bring a large pot of salted water and chicken stock to a boil. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and melt. Then add the uncooked Orzo and mix well to coat the pasta. Stir continuously until the pasta is lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Toss orzo into boiling water and cook as package directions indicate, usually about 7-8 minutes. Remove and drain immediately.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic, cook over low heat for 1 minute until fragrant. Add shrimp, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Cook 3-4 minutes. Turn, and cook 3 minutes more, or until opaque. Remove the shrimp from pan, reserving the liquid.
- To the shrimp liquid, add lemon juice, wine, and butter to the skillet. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and reduce by half, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add remaining parsley and then stir in 1 teaspoon lemon zest and capers. Taste test for preferences. Pour over shrimp and serve over the toasted orzo.