You'll have a cup of leftover vinaigrette, which can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and is good on green salads and fruit salads.
Servings: 4 - 6
- For the pasta
- 12 ounces dried orzo pasta
- 1 medium leek
- 4 to 6 ounces baby spinach
- 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 16 to 24 medium peeled, cooked shrimp, preferably wild-caught American
- Handful of tender cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, for garnish
- For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia
- 1 lemon wedge
- 1 cup fresh pineapple (already cut and peeled, from the produce department)
- 12 to 16 basil leaves
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon honey (may substitute agave nectar)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions. Drain and hold in a colander.
Meanwhile, cut off the root end and dark-green part of the leek. Cut the remaining white and light-green part in half lengthwise and rinse under cool water to remove any grit. Cut each half crosswise in half, then cut into very thin strips (julienne). Wash and spin-dry the spinach; discard any tough stems. Cut the roasted red pepper into julienne.
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 1 minute, stirring, just until it becomes fragrant. Add the roasted red pepper and shrimp, removing the tail shells as you work; stir until just warmed through. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large serving bowl.
For the vinaigrette: Cut the onion into thin slices and place in a blender. Squeeze 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice into the blender. Cut the pineapple into small chunks (if necessary) and add to the blender, along with basil leaves, vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes and honey. Blend on low speed, then add the oil in a slow, steady stream; increase the speed to medium to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Strain if desired. Taste, and season with salt as needed. The total yield should be 2 cups. Reserve 1 cup for another use.
To assemble: Add the cooked orzo and the spinach to the serving bowl and stir to incorporate. Pour 1 cup of the vinaigrette over the mixture; toss to coat evenly. Divide among individual plates. Top with the cilantro and peanuts (crush the peanuts if desired). Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from a recipe at www.WildAmericanShrimp.com.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.