Have you checked out the assortment of pasta shapes available at grocery stores? It’s not just spaghetti, noodles and lasagna anymore.
There’s mostaccioli, manicotti, cavatelli, shells, rotelle, rigatoni and ziti, just to name a few.
The Ronzoni brand makes more than 65 shapes, says Gary Lauerman of the Hershey Pasta Group.
“Bowties, penne and angel hair pastas are becoming very popular,” Lauerman says.
Try orzo sometime for a change of pace. It’s a rice-shaped pasta that will fool your family into thinking it’s actually rice.
What a nice change, however, especially if you’re the type of cook who can’t resist peeking in the rice pot while it’s cooking. Orzo is added to an open pot of boiling water; you can watch it and stir it as desired. It takes only 10-12 minutes to cook, compared to about 20 minutes for rice.
Orzo absorbs flavors readily. Add chicken or vegetable broth to the boiling water for a flavorful punch. If you’re so inclined, finely chop some vegetables and spices and add to the cooked orzo.
For a simple meal, saute your favorite vegetables with chopped ham pieces and combine with the orzo. In today’s recipe, cooked shrimp meat is mixed in to make a complete meal, catering to the seafood lovers in the household.
Like other pastas, the orzo will double in size when cooked. And there’s less than 1 gram of fat in 2 ounces of dry pasta.
So choose a pasta shape and let’s fix dinner.
Tomatoes, Orzo, Pesto and Shrimp
Adapted from “Quick & Healthy Cooking” (Rodale Press)
1 pound box orzo pasta
8 ounces presliced mushrooms
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shrimp meat
5 ounces prepared pesto sauce
Grated Romano cheese (for garnish)
Cook the orzo as directed.
Coat a 4-quart pot with nonstick spray and warm the pan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, tomato and onion and saute until the onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the peas, reduce the heat to low and cook until the peas are crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, orzo and shrimp meat.
Slowly stir in the pesto sauce. Garnish with the Romano cheese. Serve.
Yield: 8 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 332 calories, 9 grams fat (24 percent fat calories), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 140 milligrams sodium.
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