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Tuscan Shrimp Orzo


Tuscan Shrimp Orzo is a delicious, creamy dish that combines succulent shrimp, tender orzo pasta, and a rich blend of sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan cheese. This meal is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion. Let’s dive into the step-by-step recipe to create this flavorful Tuscan-inspired dish.



  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil for garnish
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)


Step 1: Cook the Orzo

  1. Boil Broth:
    • In a medium pot, bring the chicken or vegetable broth to a boil. Add the orzo pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain any excess broth if necessary and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Shrimp

  1. Season Shrimp:
    • In a bowl, season the shrimp with salt, pepper, and half of the Italian seasoning.
  2. Cook Shrimp:
    • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside.

Step 3: Sauté the Vegetables

  1. Sauté Onions and Garlic:
    • In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the finely chopped onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add Sun-Dried Tomatoes:
    • Stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and the remaining Italian seasoning. Cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Step 4: Make the Creamy Sauce

  1. Add Cream:
    • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the heavy cream to the skillet. Stir well to combine.
  2. Add Parmesan:
    • Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese until melted and the sauce is smooth.
  3. Add Spinach:
    • Add the baby spinach leaves and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add Lemon:
    • Stir in the lemon zest and juice.

Step 5: Combine and Serve

  1. Combine Orzo and Shrimp:
    • Add the cooked orzo and shrimp back to the skillet. Toss everything together until the orzo and shrimp are well coated with the creamy sauce.
  2. Season:
    • Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if using.
  3. Garnish:
    • Garnish with fresh basil leaves and additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
  4. Serve Hot:
    • Serve the Tuscan Shrimp Orzo hot, straight from the skillet.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Shrimp: Use fresh or frozen shrimp that have been thawed. Ensure they are peeled and deveined for easy eating.
  • Orzo: Cook the orzo just until al dente, as it will continue to cook slightly when mixed with the sauce.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor and moisture.
  • Cream: For a lighter version, you can use half-and-half instead of heavy cream.


Spicy Tuscan Shrimp Orzo

  • Add Heat:
    • Increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a dash of hot sauce for a spicier dish.

Vegetarian Tuscan Orzo

  • Omit Shrimp:
    • Substitute the shrimp with roasted vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms for a vegetarian version.

Gluten-Free Tuscan Shrimp

  • Gluten-Free Pasta:
    • Use gluten-free orzo or another gluten-free pasta instead of regular orzo.

Serving Suggestions

With Garlic Bread

  • Garlic Bread:
    • Serve with warm garlic bread or a crusty baguette to soak up the delicious sauce.

With a Side Salad

  • Side Salad:
    • Pair with a fresh green salad or Caesar salad for a balanced meal.

With White Wine

  • Wine Pairing:
    • Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, which complements the flavors of the dish.


Q: Can I make this dish ahead of time? A: Yes, you can prepare the sauce and cook the orzo and shrimp ahead of time. Combine and reheat just before serving.

Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store any leftover Tuscan Shrimp Orzo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

Q: Can I freeze this dish? A: Yes, you can freeze the cooked shrimp and orzo mixture. Let it cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat before serving.


Q: What if I don’t have fresh spinach? A: You can use frozen spinach, but be sure to thaw and drain it well before adding to the skillet.

Q: Can I use a different type of pasta? A: Yes, you can substitute orzo with another small pasta shape such as ditalini, farfalle, or small shells.

Tuscan Shrimp Orzo is a delightful and flavorful dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its creamy sauce, tender shrimp, and vibrant vegetables, this meal is sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Enjoy making and sharing this delicious recipe!