Sunday, 9 June 2013

Would You Pasta Rice, Please?

Risoni con i Gamberi, Pomodori Ciliegini & Zenzero
Risoni with Shrimp, Cherry Tomatoes and Ginger

Ok, I apologize for the crumminess of the title of this post- but I promise to more-than make up for it with the food! But the thing is, I still am surprised every time that I make these "risoni" noodles, how incredibly different it tastes and feels to either rice OR noodles- they are completely their own thing and totally delicious!

Named "risoni" in Italy because they are shaped like rice, these have become favorites of mine. Rather bizzarely, they are known as "orzo" in the States- which is the Italian name for barley. Whatever! All that we care about is that we make them taste terrific, right? So let me tell you how...

I started the risoni boiling as they take, strangely enough a little longer to cook even than regular, larger noodles- they will need at least 10 minutes. But in that time, I was able to prepare the rest, so that was perfect timing!

For 2 portions, I chopped half of a small onion, 1 clove of garlic, half of a carrot and celery stalk respectively and about a 1" slice of ginger all as finely as I could. These all went into my frying pan with a little olive oil and sizzled together for 4-5 minutes, until the onion and celery had become translucent. Next, I added the shrimp and a nice sprinkle of paprika powder and stirred them in well. I turned the heat up high and added a tablespoon of tomato paste too, keeping everything moving all of the time. As soon as things looked as if they were becoming too dry, I added 5-6 cherry tomatoes that I had cut into small pieces and a good splash of Sambuca... hiss!

As soon as I had deglazed the pan, I drained the pasta of most of the water, then added the rest to the shrimp in the frying pan. I seasoned again with salt and pepper and continued cooking and stirring until everything was nicely blended together and the risoni tasted silky smooth and delicious. I added a generous pinch of parsley, a light drizzle of oil, stirred this through one last time and dished  up the finished dish with a sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper. We may not have the sun- but at least we can have the Summer food! And I hope you all enjoy it too!

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